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Signs and Symptoms of Lupus

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  • A unique symptom of lupus is the outbreak of skin rashes, and you can determine the type of lupus you have by examining them
  • If you experience one or any combination of these symptoms, it's best to consult an experienced medical professional immediately

Due to the unpredictable nature of lupus , it can be difficult to determine if you have this illness because there can be several different early lupus symptoms . However, there are several commonalities found in lupus patients , such as:1

Low-grade fever

Joint stiffness in the morning

Extreme fatigue

Anemia (low red blood cell count)

Sensitivity to light

Shortness of breath

Chest pain


These lupus symptoms can appear in men, women or children , so if you experience any one or a combination of them, it's best to consult immediately with an experienced medical professional.

Types of Lupus Rashes

A unique symptom of lupus is the outbreak of skin rashes, and you can determine the type of lupus you have by having them examined . If you suddenly develop any of the following, seek immediate medical advice immediately:2

Disc-like rashes — If you spot circular rashes on your facial area such as the forehead or cheeks, you may have discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE). The rashes may be not itchy but it has long-lasting effects such as scarring and hair loss once it subsides.

Papulosquamous and annular rashes — Papulosquamous rashes are similar to psoriasis rashes, while annular rashes are ring-shaped and form scales around the edges. If you spot either rash on your skin, you may have subacute cutaneous lupus.

Butterfly rashes — If you notice large spots of rashes that resemble a butterfly on your cheeks, it is possible you have acute cutaneous lupus.

Lupus May Lead to Depression

Lupus may also lead to clinical depression, and statistics show that it affects almost a third of patients with lupus. Researchers aren't sure how clinical depression develops, but the Lupus Foundation of America suggests that it may be because of how lupus affects your immune system. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may need to consult with a doctor right away for proper treatment, such as healthy eating habits, exercise and support from loved ones:3

General sadness

Feeling of helplessness

Lack of energy

Sleeping problems

Change in appetite

Inability to concentrate

Decreased interest in activities


Lupus Can Also Cause Digestive Problems

The John Hopkins Lupus Center notes that lupus can affect your digestive tract, with problems such as heartburn caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Lupus medications may also cause digestive issues, such as peptic ulcers, which is why these drugs are not highly recommended. Instead, you should treat your digestive tract naturally by eating small, healthy meals, remaining upright after eating and scaling down caffeine consumption to promote rapid digestive recovery.4

Lupus Can Affect Your Thyroid as Well

Your thyroid  gland plays an important role in helping regulate hormones connected to bodily functions, such as your metabolism, heart rate, nervous system and body weight. . When lupus strikes however, this gland can cause problems in the form of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is defined as an underactive thyroid, and its symptoms include fatigue, weight loss and moodiness. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism means you have an overactive thyroid, and may have symptoms such as weight loss, heart palpitations and possible osteoporosis. It's important to have your thyroid gland checked during a lupus diagnosis to receive proper treatment.5

MORE ABOUT LUPUS

Lupus: Introduction

What Is Lupus?

Lupus Types

Lupus Symptoms

Lupus Causes

Lupus Treatment

Lupus Remedies

Lupus Prevention

Lupus Diet

Is Lupus Hereditary?

Lupus Diagnosis

Living with Lupus

Lupus FAQ

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Lupus Causes

Sources and References

  • 1 Lupus Foundation of America, "What are the common symptoms of lupus?" May 28, 2013
  • 2 American Skin Association, "Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus"
  • 3, 4 Johns Hopkins Lupus Center, "Signs, Symptoms, and Co-occurring Conditions"
  • 5 EndocrineWeb, "Thyroid Gland, How it Functions, Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism"
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