Signs and Symptoms
- Muscle pain
- Arthritis-like pain in one or more joints (but no or little joint damage)
- Red rash, particularly one resembling a butterfly across the nose and cheeks
- Persistent fatigue
- Sensitivity to ultraviolet light
- Hair loss
- Inflammation and damage to organs and tissues, including the kidneys, lungs, heart, lining of the heart, central nervous system, and blood vessels
Kidney disease is a frequent occurrence in those with systemic lupus. Lupus causes glomerulonephritis, a condition that affects the kidney's ability to filter toxins, leading to kidney failure. Kidney involvement occurs more frequently in childhood onset compared to adult onset. Damage to other organs and tissues, such as the heart and central nervous system, can lead to complications including seizures, depression, psychoses or headaches, blood clots leading to strokes, and pulmonary embolisms.
Symptoms of SLE may come and go over time and vary from person to person. They may worsen abruptly and then die down. Flare-ups may be triggered by changes in someone's health status, such as physical or emotional stressors, and/or by outside stimulants such as exposure to sunlight. Pregnant women may experience flare-ups during pregnancy or shortly after giving birth and may also have miscarriages.
Drug-induced SLE may occur with the use of certain drugs, such as chlorpromazine, methyldopa, hydralazine, and procainamide, resulting in unexpected onset of SLE symptoms. These symptoms will generally resolve upon discontinuation of the drug. This type of SLE is usually less severe and has fewer associated complications such as kidney or central nervous system involvement.