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morning star
03-15-2007, 12:16 PM
Hi, I'm new to this forum and have a question. I tested positive for lupus my result was 1:320 is this considered low? I have been referred to a Rheum. My second question is I'm having shortness of breath, like I'm having trouble breathing in it's not like I have asthma but feels really restricted almost like my lungs are not big enough or something and I've also had some chest pains. Thanks for your help.

Kat1224
03-15-2007, 03:56 PM
Morning Star, sounds like it could be pleurisy. I have that, it's when your lungs become inflammed and sometimes filled with fluid. I take Naproxen an anti-inflammatory and this has helped a tiny bit. I still get that stabbing pain from time to time, especially after walking up stairs or laughing really hard. Hang in there and welcome!

morning star
03-15-2007, 05:25 PM
I don't know for sure if it is pleurisy because when it started I had a little trouble in the mornings with shortness of breath then got better in the afternoon and then gradually up to now it's constant all day long never lets up I do not have a cough at all it just feels like my lungs are are constrained and I have some chest pain right in the middle where my heart is??

Saysusie
03-26-2007, 09:38 AM
It does sound as if your Lupus has affected your lungs in some way. Lupus can affect many organ systems in a large number of ways. The lungs are frequently involved and can be one of the first major complaints or lung involvment can occur late in the course of the disease. The seriousness of lung involvement varies from that which produces no symptoms and has no consequence to some potentially very serious changes.
Like Kat1224 said, your involvment could be due to inflammation in the lining of the lung (pleurisy). This produces a type of chest pain characterised by sharpness, which is worsened by breathing in. The pain has a knife-like quality. Almost half of all lupus patients have had pleurisy. It may also occur without giving rise to any symptoms and has been seen in many patients who do not recall having had any chest pain at all. If the pleura does become inflamed, then fluid may collect. This is normally small volumes and it is unusual to get large collections around the lungs.
The main lines of treatment are non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, but small doses of oral steroid tablets (Prednisolone) are sometimes required to effectively relieve the pain.
There is also a lung disease associated with Lupus called Acute Lupus Pneumonitis (lung inflammation). This type of lung disease is fortunately rare and typically affects only about 5% of all lupus sufferers. The symptoms are shortness of breath, couch, rapid breathing and occasionally coughing up blood. There is an increase in the number of white cells within the lung which produces these symptoms. The reason for this is unknown. Most patients who develop this complication have lupus involvement in other organs also. Doctors must first rule out any infectious cause for the symptoms. Treatment is usually high doses of steroids.
There is also a condition known as Diffuse Interstitial Lung Disease.
This complication, which is seen commonly in rheumatoid arthritis, affects a small percentage of patients with lupus. The most common symptoms are a chronic cough and shortness of breath on mild exertion. The X-rays of such patients may be normal in the early stages but later show either small areas of thickened lung tissue, particularly at the bottom (bases) of the lungs. Breathing tests suggest that the lung is not as effective at exchanging gases as it ought to be. Lung scan (CT scan) gives a definitive diagnosis and will often show much of the changes are due to inflammation and how much due to the thickening and scarring. Treatment is with (initially) high dose steroid and steroid sparing agents.
Also, there is a condition known as Pulmonary Hypertension (High blood pressure in the lungs). Severe high blood pressure within the lungs is rare but mild cases are much more common. The most common complaints are shortness of breath on exertion and a chronic cough. Fatigue is another common symptom. It is thought that there is a strong genetic contribution to the development of this condition.
Also, Airflow Limitation (narrowing of the airways) is seen in a small number of patients and is strongly associated with cigarette smoking, but it can occur in patients who have never smoked at all. It is thought that this condition is worsened by fatigue of the muscles of breathing which has been seen in 75% of lupus patients. Treatment is with sprays to open up the airways and perhaps tablets to assist this. The main symptoms are shortness of breath of exertion, sometimes accompanied by wheeziness.

Another cause could be infection of the lungs (bronchitis and pneumonia).
This is very common in patients with lupus. This is partly due to the lupus itself and partly due to the use of steroid and other immunosuppressive drugs used to treat the underlying lupus.

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why you could be having lung involvment with Lupus. It is important that you and your doctor find out exactly what is causing it so that treatment can begin. Some of these can be quite serious!! Let us know what you find out!

I wish you the very best
Peace and Blessings
Saysusie

widgelli
03-28-2007, 01:52 AM
With lupus, you can also have an inflamation of the pericardium, which is the sac in which the heart lies.
We have just been through that one with my husband, after he spent a night in ICU with a suspected heart attack. Tests showed that there is nothing wrong with his heart at all, just this inflammation.