Lupus

Lupus Overview

Lupus, an autoimmune disease, happens when the immune system attacks its tissues, causing inflammation, swelling, pain, and damage. Lupus symptoms include fatigue, joint pain, fever, and a lupus rash.

Symptoms & Types

Lupus symptoms can vary from person to person. Learn about the symptoms of lupus.

What Are the Symptoms of Lupus?
Lupus improves at times, and worsens at others. Symptoms of lupus may include:

  • Profound fatigue
  • Low-grade fever
  • Severe joint pain and muscle aches
  • Skin rash on the face or body
  • Extreme sun sensitivity
  • Weight loss
  • Mental confusion and seizures
  • Chest pain on taking a deep breath
  • Nose, mouth, or throat sores
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Poor circulation in fingers and toes
  • Bald patches and hair loss

Call Your Doctor About Lupus If:

  • You have any of the symptoms listed above or suspect you have lupus.
  • You have a family history of lupus and have experienced some of the symptoms above. Be even more alert for these symptoms if a close family member — your mother, father, or sibling — has lupus.

Lupus can be deadly. If you think you may have lupus, see a doctor right away. Treatment is much more successful if begun early and followed faithfully.

Warning Signs

Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if you have symptoms of a heart attack. These may include:
  • Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in the chest.
  • Sweating.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly, or one or both shoulders or arms.
  • Lightheadedness or sudden weakness.
  • A fast or irregular heartbeat.

After you call 911, the operator may tell you to chew 1 adult-strength or 2 to 4 low-dose aspirin. Wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself.

Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if you have one or more of the following signs of a stroke:

  • Sudden numbness, tingling, or weakness in or an inability to move (paralysis) part or all of one side of the body (such as the face, arm, and leg)
  • Vision changes that come on suddenly, such as dimness, blurring, double vision, or loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • A seizure
  • Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden nausea or vomiting
  • A sudden, severe headache, different from previous headaches, that occurs without a known cause
  • Sudden dizziness, clumsiness, staggering, or fainting (loss of consciousness)

Call a doctor immediately if you:

  • Are short of breath.
  • Have blood in your urine or are urinating less often and in smaller amounts than usual.
  • Have a fever over 100.5 °F (38.1 °C), with or without headache and body aches, but you haven’t recently been exposed to a cold or the flu.
  • Experience depression or any changes in behavior or thinking.
  • Have numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.
  • Are dizzy or have muscle weakness.
  • Have swelling of the lower legs or feet.

Call a doctor as soon as possible if you develop any new symptoms of lupus. Also call your doctor if any symptoms that you have had for a period of time get worse.

If you have not been diagnosed with lupus and you have symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue, or skin rashes, see your doctor or tell your doctor about your concerns at your next medical appointment.

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