And while Dixon continues to suffer form the effects of her condition, she hopes to educate women about the condition in hope that they may recognize their symptoms and take control of their disease.
In doing so, she aims to help give women early access to medical help to minimize organ damage.
“They do think with early prevention we can keep lupus from spreading to organs like the kidneys or in some cases, a patient’s heart or brain,” Dixon said.
Many lupus patients don’t get the emotional and medical support they need in the early stages of their disease.
“Some people look completely normal yet they feel awful,” said Stothers, a registered nurse, “doing the smallest task is impossible.”
It can be incredibly isolating ,as most patients don’t exhibit obvious symptoms and sometimes aren’t believed by their family or even their doctor.
In some cases, it can be very difficult to diagnose because the patient doesn’t fit the cookie-cutter causes.
“Lupus does not run in my family,” Dixon said. “The only thing that does run in my family is psoriasis, which is another autoimmune disorder.”
Signs That You May Be Affected By The Condition
If you have a family history of lupus or if you experience a multitude of medical conditions, keep an eye out for the following symptoms (9):
- Pain or swelling in joints
- Muscle pain
- Fever with no known cause
- Red rashes, most often on the face
- Chest pain when taking a deep breath
- Hair loss
- Pale or purple fingers or toes
- Sensitivity to the sun
- Swelling in legs or around eyes
- Mouth ulcers
- Swollen glands
- Feeling very tired
- Anemia (a decrease in red blood cells)
- Dizzy spells
- Feeling sad