Lupus (cont.)

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Lupus?

Lupus may be hard to diagnose. It's often mistaken for other diseases. For this reason, lupus has been called the "great imitator." The signs of lupus differ from person to person. Some people have just a few signs; others have more.

Common signs of lupus are:

  • Red rash or color change on the face, often in the shape of a butterfly across the nose and cheeks
  • Painful or swollen joints
  • Unexplained fever
  • Chest pain with deep breathing
  • Swollen glands
  • Extreme fatigue (feeling tired all the time)
  • Unusual hair loss (mainly on the scalp)
  • Pale or purple fingers or toes from cold or stress
  • Sensitivity to the sun
  • Low blood count
  • Depression, trouble thinking, and/or memory problems

Other signs are mouth sores, unexplained seizures (convulsions), "seeing things" (hallucinations), repeated miscarriages, and unexplained kidney problems.

What Is a Flare?

When symptoms appear, it's called a "flare." These signs may come and go. You may have swelling and rashes one week and no symptoms at all the next. You may find that your symptoms flare after you've been out in the sun or after a hard day at work.

Even if you take medicine for lupus, you may find that there are times when the symptoms become worse. Learning to recognize that a flare is coming can help you take steps to cope with it. Many people feel very tired or have pain, a rash, a fever, stomach discomfort, headache, or dizziness just before a flare. Steps to prevent flares, such as limiting the time you spend in the sun and getting enough rest and quiet, can also be helpful.

Preventing a Flare

  • Learn to recognize that a flare is coming.
  • Talk with your doctor.
  • Try to set realistic goals and priorities.
  • Limit the time you spend in the sun.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Develop coping skills to help limit stress.
  • Get enough rest and quiet.
  • Moderately exercise when possible.
  • Develop a support system by surrounding yourself with people you trust and feel comfortable with (family, friends, etc.).


STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!