Lupus

Monday, October 31, 2011

Throbbing in my head

I get throbbing in my head when I do too much, which is not much at all for a normal healthy person.  I could have just cooked dinner and get completely exhausted and my head will start to throb.  It is a very strange feeling because it is not a headache.  If I get stressed out over something I also get this bad feeling in my head.  I am not sure if most people with lupus get this or what but it is not pleasant.  I wish just being happy or excited over something would make me able to bypass this feeling but it doesn't.  Some people have said to me that I need to be positive or when something good happens that it should make me feel better.  My illness is not dependent on my moods, meaning, if I am happy my lupus symptoms will go away.  It is not depression that causes my illness, my pain, my head throbbing.  When I get excited over something like a new pair of fantastic shoes I still feel sick.  Actually getting overly excited exhausts me.  I even have to take happiness in stride!  I just want people to know that lupus is a disease that we cannot control, we cannot be so positive that we feel better.  I try to think positively most days but it does not change how I feel.  Here is some information from the lupus-mayo clinic website about lupus.

Definition

By Mayo Clinic staff Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body's immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs.
Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments. The most distinctive sign of lupus — a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks — occurs in many but not all cases of lupus.
Some people are born with a tendency toward developing lupus, which may be triggered by infections, certain drugs or even sunlight. While there's no cure for lupus, treatments can help control symptoms.

Symptoms

By Mayo Clinic staff No two cases of lupus are exactly alike. Signs and symptoms may come on suddenly or develop slowly, may be mild or severe, and may be temporary or permanent. Most people with lupus have mild disease characterized by episodes — called flares — when signs and symptoms get worse for a while, then improve or even disappear completely for a time.
The signs and symptoms of lupus that you experience will depend on which body systems are affected by the disease. The most common signs and symptoms include:
  • Fatigue and fever
  • Joint pain, stiffness and swelling
  • Butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose
  • Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure
  • Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods (Raynaud's phenomenon)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches, confusion, memory loss
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you develop an unexplained rash, ongoing fever, persistent aching or fatigue.

Complications

By Mayo Clinic staff Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many areas of your body, including your:
  • Kidneys. Lupus can cause serious kidney damage, and kidney failure is one of the leading causes of death among people with lupus. Signs and symptoms of kidney problems may include generalized itching, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and leg swelling (edema).
  • Brain. If your brain is affected by lupus, you may experience headaches, dizziness, behavior changes, hallucinations, and even strokes or seizures. Many people with lupus experience memory problems and may have difficulty expressing their thoughts.
  • Blood and blood vessels. Lupus may lead to blood problems, including anemia and increased risk of bleeding or blood clotting. It can also cause inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis).
  • Lungs. Having lupus increases your chances of developing an inflammation of the chest cavity lining (pleurisy), which can make breathing painful.
  • Heart. Lupus can cause inflammation of your heart muscle, your arteries or heart membrane (pericarditis). The risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks increases greatly as well.
Other types of complications
Having lupus also increase your risk of:
  • Infection. People with lupus are more vulnerable to infection because both the disease and its treatments weaken the immune system. Infections that most commonly affect people with lupus include urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, yeast infections, salmonella, herpes and shingles.
  • Cancer. Having lupus appears to increase your risk of cancer.
  • Bone tissue death (avascular necrosis). This occurs when the blood supply to a bone diminishes, often leading to tiny breaks in the bone and eventually to the bone's collapse. The hip joint is most commonly affected.
  • Pregnancy complications. Women with lupus have an increased risk of miscarriage. Lupus increases the risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy (preeclampsia) and preterm birth. To reduce the risk of these complications, doctors recommend delaying pregnancy until your disease has been under control for at least 6 months.
  • Tests and diagnosis

    By Mayo Clinic staff Diagnosing lupus is difficult because signs and symptoms vary considerably from person to person. Signs and symptoms of lupus may vary over time and overlap with those of many other disorders. No one test can diagnose lupus. The combination of blood and urine tests, signs and symptoms, and physical examination findings leads to the diagnosis.
    Laboratory tests
    Blood and urine tests may include:
  • Complete blood count. This test measures the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets as well as the amount of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells. Results may indicate you have anemia, which commonly occurs in lupus. A low white blood cell or platelet count may occur in lupus as well.
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate. This blood test determines the rate at which red blood cells settle to the bottom of a tube in an hour. A faster than normal rate may indicate a systemic disease, such as lupus. The sedimentation rate isn't specific for any one disease. It may be elevated if you have lupus, another inflammatory condition, cancer or an infection.
  • Kidney and liver assessment. Blood tests can assess how well your kidneys and liver are functioning. Lupus can affect these organs.
  • Urinalysis. An examination of a sample of your urine may show an increased protein level or red blood cells in the urine, which may occur if lupus has affected your kidneys.
  • Antinuclear antibody (ANA) test. A positive test for the presence of these antibodies — produced by your immune system — indicates a stimulated immune system. While most people with lupus have a positive ANA test, most people with a positive ANA do not have lupus. If you test positive for ANA, your doctor may advise more-specific antibody testing.
Imaging tests
If your doctor suspects that lupus is affecting your lungs or heart, he or she may suggest:
  • Chest X-ray. An image of your chest may reveal abnormal shadows that suggest fluid or inflammation in your lungs.
  • Echocardiogram. This test uses sound waves to produce real-time images of your beating heart. It can check for problems with your valves and other portions of your heart.
Biopsy
Lupus can harm your kidneys in many different ways and treatments can vary, depending on the type of damage that occurs. In some cases, it's necessary to test a small sample of kidney tissue to determine what the best treatment might be. The sample can be obtained with a needle, or through a small incision.

Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic staff Treatment for lupus depends on your signs and symptoms. Determining whether your signs and symptoms should be treated and what medications to use requires a careful discussion of the benefits and risks with your doctor. As your signs and symptoms flare and subside, you and your doctor may find that you'll need to change medications or dosages. The medications most commonly used to control lupus include:
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as naproxen (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), may be used to treat pain, swelling and fever associated with lupus. Stronger NSAIDs are available by prescription. Side effects of NSAIDs include stomach bleeding, kidney problems and an increased risk of heart problems.
  • Antimalarial drugs. Medications commonly used to treat malaria, such as hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), also can help control lupus. Side effects can include stomach upset and, very rarely, damage to the retina of the eye.
  • Corticosteroids. Prednisone and other types of corticosteroids can counter the inflammation of lupus, but often produce long-term side effects — including weight gain, easy bruising, thinning bones (osteoporosis), high blood pressure, diabetes and increased risk of infection. The risk of side effects increases with higher doses and longer term therapy.
  • Immune suppressants. Drugs that suppress the immune system may be helpful in serious cases of lupus. Examples include cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan), mycophenolate (Cellcept), leflunomide (Arava) and methotrexate (Trexall). Potential side effects may include an increased risk of infection, liver damage, decreased fertility and an increased risk of cancer. A newer medication, belimumab (Benlysta) also reduces lupus symptoms in some people. Side effects include nausea, diarrhea and fever.

Coping and support

By Mayo Clinic staff If you have lupus, you're likely to have a range of painful feelings about your condition, from fear to extreme frustration. The challenges of living with lupus increase your risk of depression and related mental health problems, such as anxiety, stress and low self-esteem. To help you cope with lupus, try to:
  • Learn all you can about lupus. Write down all the questions you have about lupus and ask them at your next appointment. Ask your doctor or nurse for reputable sources of further information. The more you know about lupus, the more confident you'll feel in your treatment choices.
  • Gather support among your friends and family. Talk about lupus with your friends and family and explain ways they can help out when you're having flares. Lupus can be frustrating for your loved ones because they usually can't see it and you may not appear sick. They can't tell if you're having a good day or a bad day unless you tell them. Be open about what you're feeling so that your friends and family know what to expect.
  • Take time for yourself. Cope with stress in your life by taking time for yourself. Use that time to read, meditate, listen to music or write in a journal. Find activities that calm and renew you.
  • Connect with others who have lupus. Talk to other people who have lupus. You can connect with other people who have lupus through support groups in your community or through online message boards. Other people with lupus can offer unique support because they're facing many of the same obstacles and frustrations that you're facing.

1 comment:

  1. Hey my name's Rebecca and I'm 22, I was diagnosed with lupus when I was 11 it runs on both sides of family. I've recently been getting a sick feeling and getting the urge to be sick but nothing comes up also feel very dizzy and heads been thumping, it's been happening for a few days now it's also stopping me from eating I have a few mouthfuls of something and am completely full or get a sick feeling that stops me from eating, at first I thought it might have been pregnancy but I've done multiple tests and all are clear and when I googled my problems it brought me to this page, which I'm glad I found this blog as it is so helpful especially by letting my partner know everything and it's explained easy as I have trouble explaining it to people so thank u for this great blog u have made, anyway I was just wondering if anyone knows what could be the problem I do go see my lupus specialist next month but am too impatient and would like to find out what's happening as it is starting to really get to me :( any help would be much appreciated . Thanks

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