What Are the 12 Symptoms of Lupus?

Medically Reviewed on 11/4/2022

What is lupus?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints and causes inflammation in other systems as well.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints and causes inflammation in other systems, as well.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system of the body attacks healthy tissue. It affects joints, skin, brain, lungs, kidneys, and blood vessels, leading to inflammation and tissue damage of the affected organs. More than 90% of cases occur in females.

What are the 12 symptoms of lupus?

Fatigue, fever, joint pain, and weight changes are usually the first signs of SLE. The 12 most common symptoms of SLE include the following:

  1. Fatigue/exhaustion
  2. Muscle weakness
  3. Arthralgia (joint pain)
  4. Sun sensitivity
  5. Butterfly shaped rash on the face
  6. Oral ulcers
  7. Blood cell abnormalities like anemia
  8. Fever due to Immunological abnormalities
  9. Loss of appetite
  10. Chest pain caused due to inflammation of the lining that surrounds the lung (pleuritis) and the heart (pericarditis)
  11. Raynaud's phenomenon (poor blood circulation to the fingers and toes with cold exposure)
  12. Vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels)

Some adults may have a period of SLE symptoms known as flares which resolve and are separated by periods of remission. The frequency of flares and remission varies among people, sometimes extending to years.

Apart from the above symptoms, some people with lupus experience nausea, indigestion, abdominal pain, and confusion.

How does a person get lupus?

The exact cause of SLE is unknown. Researchers believe a combination of environmental, genetic, and hormonal factors may contribute to getting lupus

Environmental factors include the following:

Other risk factors include the following:

Early-life risk factors include the following:

  • Low birth weight (<2,500 g)
  • Preterm birth (birth that occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy)
  • Exposure to pesticides during childhood

What are the complications of lupus?

The complications that accompany SLE are as follows:


What Is Lupus? Symptoms, Rash, and Treatment See Slideshow

How do doctors diagnose lupus?

Physicians diagnose SLE with the help of the following laboratory tests:

Radiographic tests such as computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and joint radiograph also detect abnormalities.

Ultimately, a skin biopsy is performed to confirm the diagnosis.

What is the treatment for lupus?

There is no permanent cure for SLE. Management of SLE depends on disease severity and disease manifestations. 

Hydroxychloroquine is effective in the long-term treatment of SLE.

Immunosuppressive medicines help to inhibit the activity of the immune system, which can be useful in treating SLE. 

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids help to treat inflammation and pain in the muscles, joints, and other tissues.

Can a person die from lupus?

Lupus disease along with other medical conditions can be a contributing cause of death. Mainly conditions such as kidney diseases, heart diseases, or infection secondary to lupus can be strong contributing factors

Medically Reviewed on 11/4/2022
Medscape Medical Reference

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.