Have you ever noticed things about your body that are annoying, weird, smelly, or downright embarrassing? If so, you’re not alone. We all experience the often unsightly and sometimes unseemly signs and signals our bodies send us about our state of health. Ugly growths may pop up on our eyelids, or skin tags under our breasts. Our nails may be yellow or our partners may complain that we smell like ammonia.

Fortunately, many of these “body signs” are harmless and can be ignored or treated cosmetically. But sometimes what may seem like a cosmetic concern is more than meets the eye. The ugly growths on your eyelids may be xantelasmas, tiny deposits of cholesterol forewarning you that you may have high cholesterol and be at risk for heart disease. Unsightly skin tags – a common sign of aging – may signal diabetes. Yellowed nails may be nicotine stains, but they can also be warning signs of a lung or liver disorder. And while the ammonia-like odor you give off may mean you should hire a cleaning service, it can also mean that you’re eating too much protein, or you have Helicobacter pyelori bacteria, the bug that causes stomach ulcers.

Body signs can be seen, heard, tasted, felt, or smelled by you or others. Before modern diagnostic techniques, doctors had to rely on what their own and their patient’s five senses revealed to them. They listened to patients’ hearts, felt their pulses, looked at their tongues, eye-balled their eyes, inspected their hair, skin, and nails, smelled their smells, studied their stools, and sniffed or sometimes even tasted their urine. Doctors today, even though they may use sophisticated diagnostic equipment at their disposal, still apply these sensible techniques ? with the possible exception of tasting urine.

You, too, can learn to use your senses to detect warning signs of serious conditions and get medical help before they become full-blown diseases. You can:

Look at your hair, eyes, tongue, skin and nails.

Listen to your voice and stomach sounds

Smell your body wastes

Taste your mouth and saliva

Touch your hair, skin, nails

Going from head to toe, here are some warning signs you may detect using your five senses. And keep in mind that any change in any of your senses can itself be a warning sign that something is out of kilter.


When your hair feels more dry and brittle than usual, you may be over-processing it. Or, dry hair may signal an under-active thyroid or nutritional deficiency.

If your hair looks like it’s thinning, and you’re a woman, you may have female-pattern baldness, which often runs in families. But it can also be a sign of an over-active thyroid or an early warning sign of diabetes.


Hearing the sound of your heart beating inside your ears is actually normal, especially when lying down. But if you hear your heart beat or a throbbing sound in only one ear, it may be a warning sign of a heart murmur, high blood pressure, or other vascular disorders.

When normal noises sound louder than usual, it may be a drug side effect or a sign that you’ve been drinking too many diet sodas that contain aspartame. Super sensitivity to sound may also be telling you that you have a magnesium deficiency, or an autoimmune or other serious disease.


Seeing floaters, those spots or flecks that appear floating across your field of vision, is pretty common. But if you notice a sudden increase of floaters, you may have a retinal tear or even detachment (especially if you see flashing lights with the floaters), which requires immediate medical attention.

Eyes that feel dry all the time, may be caused by low humidity, or be a drug side effect. Chronic dry eyes can also be a warning sign of some autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, hyperthyroidism, and lupus.


While a nose that frequently looks red can be a tell-tale sign of excessive drinking, it can also be a red flag for the skin condition, rosacea. Interestingly, alcohol can trigger or worsen this condition.

If your sense of smell is not as keen as it used to be, it may be due to an injury to your nose, a normal sign of aging, or a sign of any number of disorders including zinc deficiency, nasal polyps, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and multiple sclerosis. It can also be very early warning sign of Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.


A terrible taste in your mouth that won’t wash away with mouthwash can be a side effect of such medications as antibiotics, antidepressants, antihypertensives, as well as some vitamins supplements. It can also be a sign of gum disease, a viral infection, gastrointestinal disorder, Bell’s palsy, or burning mouth syndrome, a rare condition that primarily affects menopausal women.

A healthy tongue is covered with tiny bumps called papillae. If you tongue looks or feels very smooth and glassy, it may be telling you that you’re deficient in certain nutrients such as folic acid, vitamin B12, or iron. A smooth, red tongue may signal pernicious anemia or malabsorption syndrome, a condition in which the body cannot adequately absorb nutrients.


Hearing your stomach rumbling a lot may merely be the result of excess gas from a high-fiber diet or a diet containing too many carbohydrates, carbonated drinks, or artificial sweeteners. But excess gas may also signal lactose intolerance, food or drug allergies, or any number of gastrointestinal disorders.

If your arms or legs frequently feel numb and tingly, it may be the result of a pinched nerve, or an important warning sign of several serious conditions such as adrenal disorder, a circulatory problem (peripheral arterial disease), or a nerve disorder (peripheral neuropathy).


Whatever you eat can affect the odor (and color) of your urine. But urine that often smells sweet can be an important warning sign of undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes.

What you eat can also affect the color (and sometimes the odor) of your stools. If your stools look very pale, it may be from eating a lot of rice, potatoes, and other white-colored foods. Medicine containing calcium can also cause pale stools. But persistently pale stools can signal a blockage of the bile ducts, which can be caused by tumors or liver diseases including hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver cancer.


If you feel a single, rough, or scaly patch of skin somewhere on your body -especially on your arm, leg, chest or other sun-exposed area – it may just be a scar. But you may have a pre-cancerous condition called solar (or actinic) keratosis.

If you see dark horizontal streaks that look like (but aren’t) splinters under your finger or toenails, they may be splinter hemorrhages, a sign of trichinosis, a parasitic disease caused by eating undercooked pork or wild game. They can also be warning signs of psoriasis, peptic ulcers, kidney disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, blood-clotting diseases, and endocarditis, an infection of the heart.

You can see that checking your body periodically from head to toe can sometimes uncover important and often-missed warning signs of serious diseases. Keeping track of your body signs can be an important preventive health measure. It will also help you to actively participate in your health care and the diagnostic process as a partner with your doctor. And don’t forget to check out those near and dear to you; you may be able to pick up things that they themselves are unaware of.

If you do notice a disturbing body sign on either you or your loved ones – no matter how trivial or embarrassing – mention it to a doctor. Discussing annoying, bizarre, or embarrassing signs with a doctor will make it much easier to get a quick, accurate diagnosis when something is wrong, enabling you to get prompt treatment. It can also help you rule out serious conditions when all is well. Indeed, many of the body signs that may concern you will turn out to be perfectly normal and benign, or of no particular consequences, thus saving you further medical expense, time, and anxiety.


Joan Liebmann-Smith, Ph.D., is a medical sociologist and award-winning medical writer. Her articles have appeared in American Health, Ms., Newsweek, Redbook, Self, and Vogue, and she has appeared on numerous television talk shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Today Show. She has a daughter, Rebecca, a cat, Fazelnut, and lives with her husband, Richard — also a writer — in New York City.

Jacqueline Nardi Egan is a medical journalist who specializes in developing and writing educational programs with and for physicians, allied health professionals, patients, and consumers. She is also a former medical editor of Family Health magazine. She has a daughter, Elizabeth, two dogs, Coco and Abby, and divides her time between Darien, Connecticut, and Sag Harbor, New York.

6 thoughts on “Signs Of Lupus In Dogs

  1. The Bestest Helper!

    Can you summarize this in a paragraph please?
    The Great Dane lumbering down the street next to the Chihuahua in its owner’s purse are clear examples of the extreme variety of looks that dog species — the most diverse-looking mammal in the world — can sport.

    Scientists have long been curious to understand what changes in dog genes brought about by breeding resulted in the wide spectrum of body types, coat colors, fur, and temperaments present in the more than 400 genetically distinct dog breeds today.

    A new study has laid down the first pieces of this puzzle by sequencing large sections of genes from nearly 300 dogs belonging to 10 different breeds. Among the study’s findings, detailed in the Jan. 11 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the identification of the gene likely responsible for the exaggerated wrinkles in the skin of Shar-Peis.

    Figuring out how genes in dogs are affected by artificial selection (as well as what those genes do) could help us better understand how humans were influenced by natural selection and exactly which genes perform which function in our own genome (the entire collection of human genes).

    Breed genes

    Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) were first domesticated around 14,000 years ago, long before the field of genetics even existed, though most dog breeds were developed in the last few centuries. As humans bred dogs for features such as shorter legs or a docile temperament, they were actually tinkering with genes, while influencing the selection and expression of dog genes.

    Joshua Akey of the University of Washington in Seattle and his colleagues surveyed portions of dog genomes from various breeds – including the beagle, border collie, Jack Russell Terrier, Shar-Pei and the standard poodle – to tease out which regions showed the signature of selection and which genes corresponded to certain physical traits (or phenotypes).

    Previous studies of dog genes have paired genes to their resulting phenotype, for example, the stumpy legs of Dachshunds, but these studies started with the physical trait and looked for the corresponding gene or genes that coded for it. Akey’s study instead compared gene regions that showed signs of change between breeds and looked for physical traits that might correspond to those changes.

    The team found 155 distinct genetic locations that showed evidence of tampering from breeding. (The five genes previously linked to breed-specific differences showed up in the study, which Akey said gives the team confidence that they’re seeing real effects.)

    Akey and his team haven’t been able to pin down the specific genes that have been changed in all of these locations, though for many they can show that a gene that can influence body size or coat color is present.

    One trait they have pinpointed – the oversized wrinkles in the skin of Shar-Peis. They compared the genomes of Shar-Peis with highly wrinkled skin to those with a slightly smoother coat and found differences in that region.

    Man’s best friend

    From this research and further studies of the dog genome, Akey and others hope to eventually glean both a better understanding of how genes affect phenotypes (in dogs as well as humans) and what particular genes code for. In effect, understanding dogs could help us better understand ourselves.

    “And that’s really the reason that people are interested in dog genetic and dog genomics,” Akey said, though he added that dogs were fun to study in their own right.

    The variation in dog breeds makes it easier to pin down what genes result in what phenotype.

    “It’s not quite the needle in the haystack problem that it is in humans,” Akey told LiveScience.

    Akey said that geneticists also hope to compare the signatures of artificial selection in dogs with those of natural selection in humans to see how the two processes might differ, or if they act on genes in much the same way.

    Tracing the gene changes in dogs that result in the body shapes and other characteristics of particular breeds could also reveal the changes that might have led to breed-specific diseases and help scientists better understand how genetics affect disease, both in dogs and humans.

    And because dogs have been bred to have certain behavioral traits (herding, hunting, companionship), “I think there are definitely going to be opportunities to learn about the genetics of behavior in dogs as well,” Akey said.

  2. Wthe3rd

    My girlfriend broke up with me. Was here reason good enough?
    We had been together for a few days short of 11 months. She broke up with me 2 weeks ago. The week before it, her dog that she had for 15 years died, her mother’s lupus was acting up, and she was nervous about going to college. When she broke up with me, she said she was depressed about all those things and didnt want to bring me down because of it. I don’t understand how in a week you can go from being in a perfect relationship to not having one at all. I didnt see any signs of this coming. Now im the depressed one. Was her reason good enough? And now what do i do? I txted her a week ago, and that didnt go so well. I want to talk to her because i still love her. What do i do?
    BTW, when i spoke to her last, she said she loved me still too. I dont really understand what she wants. I just miss her. I told her i was there for her support but she didnt have an answer for that. Is there anyway that i can change this? Do you think it would be pitiful to go back out?

    1. Elliott Smith

      Bro I’ve been through this. as painful as it may hurt go on with your life. enjoy it even though it’ll seem like nothing is worth enjoying. ive gone through this before it sucks balls. but hey imagine now you have all the freedom to do what you want. give her time.

  3. HBIC

    Would you help a friend in need? Please read.?
    A very close friend of mine’s boyfriend left her after they had signed a mortgage together. She did home daycare there. So she is losing her home and her business. That’s not even the half of it. She JUST found out she is pregnant with #2. Before we found out she was pregnant again I had offerred for her to stay with me. That meant taking her and her child into my home. I was not counting on her bringing the business there and a newborn and 2 dogs, one of which is a 6 mos. old puppy who is full grown, but still VERY hyper. She also has lupus and a criminal charge against her for domestic abuse (because she and a BF got into an argument and the neighbors called the cops). So, in a nutshell it is a mess and while I’d like to help her out I can’t be having another child, a newborn, a person running a home daycare in my house (since she’s preggo and is prob. not going to find another job) and two more dogs (I already have a blind dog, that would freak out with an uppity dog, much less 2) in my home.

    Here’s the dilemna: When I went through my divorce and had nowhere to go she let my daughter and I stay with her for a week so I could find a job and apt. I told her that I’d help her out both before and after she found out she was pregnant. I feel bad being like, “Well, now that you’re screwed I am going to screw you more by going back on my word. BUT I am already stressed as a single mom and this would add more stress to not only me but our friendship as well.

    What would you do?!? Seriously, I need help. I don’t want to be a horrible friend, but what can I do or say?
    p.s. I really need the money she could pay me for renting the room too. I’ve been looking for a roomate and not having much sucess. But is it worth it? Plus, how is she gonna fit her, and 2 kids in one room? and I just got new carpet for my house which I can’t have dogs or kids messing up cuz it cost me $3k
    Thank you! I have decided after talking with her last night that she will stay with me until the baby is 1 month old (for 6 months), so she doesn’t have to move out of her house when she’s very pregnant. She is bringing at least the older dog (which is fine because she is a great dog and 16 years old, so she can’t put her up for adoption or in a shelter), but probably not the puppy. The kids’ she watches parents are letting her watch them at their own houses, so she will still have a job. 🙂 I am nervous to live with a newborn for a while, but I guess it’s doable to help her out. When the baby is 1 month old she will have enough saved up from living with me and can move out.

    It will definitely be a struggle, but since I am gone M-F 8-6 I guess it won’t be that bad. Plus, I will get a little more income, can probably have her watch my daughter sometimes, she might even cook for us occasionally and the girls will be just like sisters for a while. I hope it all works out!

    1. Albert L

      this is not easy, but the dogs need to go somewhere else. $3,000.00 is a lot of money to lose to a friend, dogs out. helping your friend that helped you is great, but running her job there is not going to happen. she needs to find other means of work. do you have any idea on what your home is going to look like while she is working there watching kids. how about your private space, that is not going to happen till the daycare is closed. there is to much on this plate for anyone to swallow you need to be straight forward with her on this matter and you may just want to tell her right out as to how you like to help, but cannot have her dogs, or her run a daycare from your home. make it clear to her that it will destroy your friendship with her. lets face it if you do not say anything now you will lose this friend anyways. good luck, this is not an easy thing, but she may just understand your situation. handle this with care, she is not in any position to fight with you when you are trying to help her. again good luck.

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