What always surprises me about my Lupus clients is the multiple diagnoses that were given to them before they were discovered to have Lupus. I often see that they were originally diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme’s Disease, Epstein Barr, Anemia or with some other condition that has been known to cause similar symptoms.
Most clients that I see that are suffering from Lupus are suffering from severe fatigue. They find it very difficult to do simple daily activities without needing to take a rest or a nap in order to complete the chore. There will often be a malaise which makes your body feel weak and sore and you don’t know why. This can be accompanied by a feeling of uneasiness. You know that there is something wrong, but you just cannot put your finger as to what it is. As the condition progresses, there are often reports of fever and unexplained weight loss. I often hear from my clients that the doctor does not know why I am feeling this way.
My usual recommendation for someone in this circumstance is to have the doctor send the person to an arthritic specialist or a rheumatologist. Lupus can take on many different forms and can attack other organs in the body. It is to your benefit that Lupus be diagnosed as early as possible. Lupus can not only effect the joints, it can also effect the skin, kidneys, blood cells, heart, brain, lungs and the eyes. I have seen people diagnosed with Raynauld’s Phenomenon where their fingers and/or toes turn white or blue when they are in extreme cold or high stress periods in their life. Raynauld’s can often be a sign or signal that there may be other things going on including Lupus. When I hear someone complaining of things like Raynauld’s or skin rashes that appear with the sun or rashes that occur on the face, I frequently advise them to seek a rheumatologist to explore what else may be going on in their bodies.
I have also seen cases where medications have triggered Lupus-like symptoms and thankfully, the symptoms go away when the medication is stopped. Luckily those clients did not need to pursue their disability applications because it was a matter of a medically induced Lupus which was able to be controlled. I have also seen the reverse, where some clients went undiagnosed, especially in women, which had resulted in complications which could have been avoided if the diagnosis was made earlier. What I usually find in these types of clients is that additional medical treatment and medical testing is necessary to confirm the disease and which organs are effected.
If you are experiencing Lupus-like symptoms please be sure that your PCP is sending you to a specialist to evaluate your symptoms as Lupus is very hard to diagnose. Also, a lot of my Lupus clients are susceptible to infections and are often told to avoid known places where infections are present, such as daycares, hospitals and/or nursing homes. It also becomes important to institute lifestyle changes when diagnosed with Lupus as rest becomes extremely important in helping to control the symptoms and is one of the factors that helps me prove a disability case.
Disclaimer: These pages are only observations from my point of view of some of the factors that are present in the diagnosis. I am not a doctor, I am a lawyer and I am only providing observations of various signs and symptoms that I have seen during my practice and/or the signs and symptoms that I evaluate when taking a client in front of an Administrative Law Judge.