Symptoms of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
General symptoms such as:
- Fever without signs of infection
- Swollen, enlarged lymph nodes which may be felt around the throat
- Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath
Musculoskeletal symptoms such as:
- Arthritis —inflammation of the joints
- Arthralgia—pain in the joints
- Inflammation of the muscles
- Muscle weakness
Skin symptoms such as:
Characteristic butterfly-shaped rash over the nose and cheeks
Butterfly Rash on the Face Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
- Photosensitivity—sensitivity to sun and light, easily burned by the sun
- Hair loss
- Raynaud's phenomenon —reduced circulation resulting in numbness, or blue or white fingertips when cold
- Red or purple rash
- Characteristic butterfly-shaped rash over the nose and cheeks
- Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain
- Neuropsychiatric symptoms such as:
- Kidney disease—Chronic inflammation can damage of structures in the kidney. Damage prevents the kidneys from working properly.
- Cardiovascular disorders—Inflammation can affect tissue of the blood vessels, heart, and heart valves. The inflammation and long term tissue damage can contribute to a variety of cardiovascular conditions such as high blood pressure , heart failure , heart attack , or stroke .
- Respiratory problems—Chronic inflammation can eventually damage and scar the tissue of the lungs or the lining around the lungs. Damaged lung tissue makes it more difficult to get oxygen into the blood and cause chest pain or difficulty breathing.
- Neurological disorders—Inflammation of nerves can contribute to headaches , mood disorders , cognitive impairment , and seizures .
- Blood disorders—Inflammation can also lead to damage of individual blood cells and lead to anemia , thrombocytopenia , leukopenia, or an increased risk of blood clots (which can lead to heart attack or stroke).
Lupus. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Lupus/default.asp. Updated May 2013. Accessed December 29, 2014.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 24, 2014. Accessed December 29, 2014.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The Merck Manual Professional Edition website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/musculoskeletal%5Fand%5Fconnective%5Ftissue%5Fdisorders/autoimmune%5Frheumatic%5Fdisorders/systemic%5Flupus%5Ferythematosus%5Fsle.html. Updated October 2013. Accessed December 29, 2014.
What are the most common symptoms of lupus? Lupus Foundation of America website. Available at: http://www.lupus.org/answers/entry/common-symptoms-of-lupus. Accessed December 29, 2014.
5/6/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Smyth A, Oliveira GH, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of pregnancy outcomes in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and lupus nephritis. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2010;5(11):2060-2068.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2015 -
- Update Date: 05/20/2015 -