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Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of lupus are highly variable and may include:

  • 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
  • Fever
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Swollen glands
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Raynaud phenomenon
  • Hair loss
  • Chest pain
  • Anemia
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Inflammation and damage to organs and tissues, including the kidneys, lungs, heart, lining of the heart, central nervous system, and blood vessels

Symptoms of lupus 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.

People with lupus are at increased risk of infections, such as urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, yeast infections, salmonella, herpes and shingles, due to their weakened immune system from both the condition and its treatments. They are also at increased risk of cancer, bone tissue death, and pregnancy complications, including miscarriage and pre-eclampsia.

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