I was diagnosed with SLE in 2002 and have been expericing progressively worse symptoms (fatigue, joint pain, hairloss...). Within the last year, my fingers have been swollen like sausages and I dont' always have mobility with my hands. It has been extremely difficult as I am a Bikram yoga addict, piano and violin player, and student. It is also painful and causes blood vessels to explode right under the skin. My doctor says that this is the effect of vasculitis (skin inflammation) and that he cannot really treat it. Currently I am taking Plaquenil, Medrol, and have recently started Methotrexate (MTX) (3 weeks ago). Does anyone have any suggestions to reduce the swelling and joint pain in my hands? I have tried soaking in hot liquids and on days that I cannot stand it, I take 200 mg. of ibuprofen (*guilty look*). Thanks!
Swollen fingers can be caused by several different things. Blood vessels may become inflamed (vasculitis), affecting the way bood circulates through the body. The inflammation may be mild and may not require treatment or may be severe and require immediate attention.
Many Lupus Patients also suffer from what is known and mixed connective tissue disease. Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) is an autoimmune disease that encompasses symptoms of three other rheumatoid autoimmune diseases: systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma and polymyositis. Patients with this pattern illness have features of each of these three diseases.
The symptoms of mixed connective tissue disease mimic symptoms of other rheumatoid diseases and can vary from person to person. Early symptoms can be subtle and are sometimes disregarded until the disease progresses. Initial symptoms often include Raynaud's phenomenon in response to cold (blood vessel spasm followed by numbness and whiteness in fingers and toes); swollen fingers or hands; rashes (including butterfly rash on the nose, similar to the rash caused by lupus); red patches over the knuckles; purplish discoloration of the eyelids; alopecia (hair loss); telangiectasia (dilation of blood vessels), causing lesions on the hands and face; irritable bowel and other digestive problems; allergies; fatigue; sleep disturbances; and sore throat.
Symptoms of MCTD can progress gradually or rapidly. In some people, MCTD remains mild for years, then will flare up and create a medical crisis. As the disease progresses, more body systems are affected. More advanced symptoms may include arthritis (usually non-deforming, but erosive deformities like those caused by rheumatoid arthritis can develop); muscle weakness or pain in the joints or muscles; abnormalities of the esophagus; frequent infections in the gums, stomach and lungs; pleuritis (inflammation of membranes surrounding the lungs), which may cause shortness of breath or more serious problems; kidney disease; and heart disease.
Conventional medical treatments may help relieve the symptoms of MCTD but they do not address the root of the problem. Generally, by undergoing comprehensive natural medicine testing, the reasons the body is producing antibodies against itself can be found. Some of these reasons include sensitivities or allergies to foods, inhalants and chemicals and various infections.
Raynaud's Syndrome is also known to cause swollen fingers. Raynaud's syndrome is due to poor circulation, usually in the hands and feet, although may affect the nose, tongue or ears. The tiny blood vessels in the affected area close down, supplying very little blood to the extremities. Numbness results and on warming, the area may throb painfully.
When Raynaud's syndrome occurs alone it is known as primary Raynaud's; when it occurs with another related condition it is known as secondary Raynaud's syndrome.
Raynaud's can be a useful predictor of autoimmune rheumatic disease.aynaud's syndrome occurs on and off, usually as a response to cold or, rarely, as an emotional reaction. The affected areas, usually fingers or toes, turn very white or blue and become numb when cold. On warming, they turn bright red and throb painfully and are sometimes swollen.