Lupus - Symptoms of lupus
NHS Choices Medical Reference
The symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) can vary from person to person. Some people with the condition may only experience a few mild symptoms, whereas others may be more severely affected.
The symptoms of SLE can also appear in "flare-ups". This means that although you may always have mild symptoms, during a flare-up your symptoms may become more severe.
The three primary symptoms of SLE are:
- joint pain
- skin rashes
These are described in more detail below.
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of SLE. You may feel very tired even though you get plenty of sleep. Carrying out everyday tasks, such as household chores or office work, can leave you feeling exhausted.
Many people with SLE have reported that fatigue is the most distressing and disruptive aspect of SLE because it has a negative impact on their work and social life.
If you have SLE, you are most likely to experience joint pain in your hands and feet. You may find that the pain changes from one set of joints to another quite quickly. However, unlike some other conditions that affect the joints, SLE is unlikely to cause your joints to become permanently damaged or deformed.
In people with SLE, skin rashes most commonly develop on the face, wrists and hands. A rash over the cheeks and the bridge of the nose is particularly common and is known as a "butterfly rash". Skin rashes that are caused by SLE may be permanent and can be made worse with exposure to sunlight. This is known as photosensitivity.
As well as the primary symptoms listed above, SLE can also cause a number of other symptoms. However, if you have SLE it is unlikely that you will have all of the symptoms listed below, and many people with the condition will only experience the primary symptoms.
Other symptoms of SLE may include:
- high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
- swollen lymph glands (small, bean-shaped glands that are found throughout your body, including in your neck, armpits and groin)
- recurring mouth ulcers
- hair loss (alopecia)
high blood pressure (hypertension)
- dry eyes
- memory loss
- anaemia - a condition where a lack of red, oxygen-carrying blood cells can cause fatigue and shortness of breath
Raynaud's phenomenon - a condition that limits the blood supply to your hands and feet when it is cold
Aches: An ache is a constant dull pain in a part of the body.
Anxiety: Anxiety is an unpleasant feeling when you feel worried, uneasy or distressed about something that may or may not be about to happen.
Brain: The brain controls thought, memory and emotion. It sends messages to the body controlling movement, speech and senses.
Depression: Depression is when you have feelings of extreme sadness, despair or inadequacy that last for a long time.
Fatigue: Fatigue is extreme tiredness and lack of energy.
Inflammation: Inflammation is the body's response to infection, irritation or injury, which causes redness, swelling, pain and sometimes a feeling of heat in the affected area.
Joints: Joints are the connection point between two bones that allow movement.
Kidney: Kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs located at the back of the abdomen, which remove waste and extra fluid from the blood and pass them out of the body as urine.
Pain: Pain is an unpleasant physical or emotional feeling that your body produces as a warning sign that it has been damaged.
Ulcers: An ulcer is a sore break in the skin, or on the inside lining of the body.