by Polsdorfer R

Symptoms of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

The symptoms of SLE vary from mild to extremely severe and debilitating. In some patients, only one part of the body—for example, the skin—is affected. In others, many parts of the body are affected. Each case is unique in the symptoms that it produces. Though symptoms of SLE can be chronic, they usually flare up and subside intermittently.
General symptoms include:
  • Fatigue
  • 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 include:
  • Arthritis —inflammation of the joints
  • Arthralgia—pain in the joints
  • Inflammation of the muscles
  • Muscle weakness
Skin symptoms include:
  • Characteristic butterfly-shaped rash over the nose and cheeks
  • Photosensitivity—sensitivity to sun and light
  • Hair loss
  • Raynaud's phenomenon —reduced circulation resulting in numbness, or blue or white fingertips when cold
  • Red or purple rash
  • Hives
Butterfly Rash on the Face
IMAGE
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain.
Neuropsychiatric symptoms include:
  • Psychiatric disorders, such as depression
  • Seizures
  • Peripheral neuropathy —nerve pain or numbness
  • Inflammation around one or both sides the spinal cord, which may lead to pain, muscle stiffness, or paralysis
SLE may cause complications during pregnancy. There may be a flare-up of symptoms, kidney problems, or pre-eclampsia. There is also an increased risk of premature birth, stillbirth, miscarriage, or growth problems wiht the baby during pregnancy.

References

Handout on health: Systemic lupus erythematosus. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Lupus/default.asp . Updated August 2011. Accessed June 28, 2013.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated June 13, 2013. Accessed June 28, 2013.

What are the symptoms for developing lupus? Lupus Foundation of America website. Available at: http://www.lupus.org/webmodules/webarticlesnet/templates/new%5Flearnunderstanding.aspx?articleid=2235&zoneid=523 . Accessed June 28, 2013.

5/6/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Smyth A, Oliveira GH, Lahr BD, Bailey KR, Norby SM, Garovic VD. 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.

Revision Information

Health Library Search

Only show results from the selected categories.











1 Blepharitis condition

Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelid. It is a very common eye disease that affects the edge of the eyelids and eyelash hair follicles. There are three main types of ...

2 Hordeolum condition

A hordeolum is a small infection of the glands in the eye, located in the eyelids. The infection causes a red bump on the eyelid that may look like a pimple. This type of...

3 Chalazion condition

A chalazion is a hard bump that forms on the eyelid....

Erythema multiforme is a skin condition often associated with an overreaction to an infection or medication. It can affect skin throughout the body. Erythema multiforme h...

Contact dermatitis is inflammation of the outer layers of the skin caused by contact with a particular substance. It usually presents as a rash that is typically confined...

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of joints, tendons, skin, blood vessels and other connective tissue, and organs. SLE ...

Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are plants that cause a rash in those allergic to them. This rash is caused by a chemical in the sap. About 50%-70% of people are...