SIGNS OF LUPUS
WHAT IS A FLARE?
SCIENCE MEANS PROGRESS
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF
of lupus include chest pain, hair loss, anemia (a decrease in red blood
cells), mouth ulcers, and pale or purple fingers and toes from cold and
stress. Some people also experience headaches, dizziness, depression,
confusion, or seizures. New symptoms may continue to appear years after
the initial diagnosis, and different symptoms can occur at different
times. In some people with lupus, only one system of the body, such as
the skin or joints, is affected. Other people experience symptoms in
many parts of their body. Just how seriously a body system is affected
varies from person to person. The following systems in the body also can
be affected by lupus.
Kidneys: Inflammation of the kidneys (nephritis) can
impair their ability to get rid of waste products and other toxins
from the body effectively. There is usually no pain associated with
kidney involvement, although some patients may notice swelling in
their ankles. Most often, the only indication of kidney disease is
an abnormal urine or blood test. Because the kidneys are so
important to overall health, lupus affecting the kidneys generally
requires intensive drug treatment to prevent permanent damage.
Lungs: Some people with lupus develop pleuritis, an
inflammation of the lining of the chest cavity that causes chest
pain, particularly with breathing. Patients with lupus also may get
Central nervous system: In some patients, lupus affects the
brain or central nervous system. This can cause headaches,
dizziness, memory disturbances, vision problems, seizures, stroke,
or changes in behavior.
Blood vessels: Blood vessels may become inflamed (vasculitis),
affecting the way blood circulates through the body. The
inflammation may be mild and may not require treatment or may be
severe and require immediate attention.
Blood: People with lupus may develop anemia, leukopenia (a
decreased number of white blood cells), or thrombocytopenia (a
decrease in the number of platelets in the blood, which assist in
clotting). Some people with lupus may have an increased risk for
Heart: In some people with lupus, inflammation can occur in
the heart itself (myocarditis and endocarditis) or the membrane that
surrounds it (pericarditis), causing chest pains or other symptoms.
Lupus can also increase the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of