I am researching this because of many of the things that I am or have experienced in the neurological realm of this disease. I hope you find the information as interesting as I did. You canf ind more information at www.mayoclinic.com. I actually added more information that includes the complications that can result from lupus in this information as well.
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. Up to three-quarters of people with lupus will develop kidney damage, usually during the first two years after diagnosis. However, with treatment, most people who develop lupus-related kidney problems can be effectively treated with medications. A blood test called serum creatinine level and urinalysis are used to monitor kidney function. Signs and symptoms of kidney problems may include generalized itching, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, leg swelling (edema) and weight gain.
- Central nervous system (CNS). If your central nervous system is affected by lupus, you may experience headaches, dizziness, behavior changes, hallucinations and even seizures. As many as 80 percent of people with lupus may experience cognitive dysfunction, such as confusion, memory problems and 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), a serious complication responsible for 7 percent of lupus-related deaths.
- Lungs. Having lupus increases your chances of developing an inflammation of the chest cavity lining (pleurisy) that can make breathing painful. You may also be more susceptible to a noninfectious form of pneumonia. Although a majority of people with lupus develop lung problems that can be detected by pulmonary tests, lung complications are rarely severe and often produce no symptoms.
- Heart. Lupus can cause inflammation of your heart muscle (myocarditis and endocarditis), your arteries (coronary vasculitis) or heart membrane (pericarditis). Having lupus also greatly increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Nearly 40 percent of people with lupus develop prematurely hardened arteries (atherosclerosis), compared with 15 percent of their peers who don’t have lupus. Controlling high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol, not smoking, and getting regular exercise are essential to help reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Infection. People with lupus are vulnerable to infection because both the disease and its treatments — corticosteroid and cytotoxic drugs, in particular — affect the immune system. And in a vicious cycle, infection can bring on a lupus flare, increasing the risk of infection even more. Infections that most commonly affect people with lupus include urinary tract infections; common respiratory infections, such as colds; yeast infections; salmonella; herpes and shingles. More-serious infections, such as pneumonia, account for about one-third of lupus-related deaths.
- Cancer. Having lupus appears to increase your risk of cancer — especially non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which affects the lymphatic system, and lung cancer. Immunosuppressant drugs that are sometimes used to treat lupus also can increase the risk of cancer. However, other than a slightly increased risk of death from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or lung cancer, people with lupus are less likely to die of cancer than is the general population.
- 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 commonly affected, although avascular necrosis can occur in other bones as well. Avascular necrosis can be caused by lupus itself or by high doses of corticosteroids used to treat the disease. About 1 in 10 people with lupus develops symptoms of avascular necrosis.
- Pregnancy complications. Women with lupus have an increased risk of miscarriage. Some women with lupus experience a flare during pregnancy. Lupus increases the risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy (preeclampsia) and preterm birth. About 2 in 10 women with lupus develop preeclampsia, and about 1 in 4 will deliver healthy babies prematurely. In addition, about 1 in 4 women with lupus who becomes pregnant will experience a miscarriage. To reduce the risk of these complications, doctors advise waiting to get pregnant until your disease has been under control or in remission for one year.