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sureshrana wrote at 2014-06-25 11:51:33
The symptoms and severity of SLE vary tremendously between people. Many people have fatigue (tiredness), weight loss and a mild fever. In addition, one or more of the following may develop.

Joint and muscle pains

Most people with SLE develop some joint and muscle pains. Sometimes only a few joints are affected, whereas other people have many joints affected. The small joints of the hands and feet tend to be the ones affected most. The pains may 'flit' from joint to joint. Joint stiffness is common and is usually worse first thing in the morning. Mild joint swelling may occur but severe arthritis with joint damage is unusual.

Skin, mouth and hair

A red rash which develops over the cheeks and nose is common (the 'butterfly rash'). Other areas of skin exposed to sunlight (hands, wrists, etc) may also develop a rash. About 6 in 10 people with SLE find that their skin is very sensitive to sunlight. Various other rashes may develop. The blood vessels just under the skin may also be affected and cause poor circulation to the fingers and toes (Raynaud's phenomenon). Mouth ulcers are more common in people with SLE. Some hair may fall out (alopecia). Any hair loss tends to be minor and cause hair 'thinning' rather than bald patches. However, quite serious hair loss sometimes develops, although the hair often grows back when SLE is less active.

Blood and lymph

A mild anaemia is common. Other blood problems, such as reduced numbers of white blood cells or platelets (the cells that help the blood to clot), are less common. A tendency to form blood clots is an uncommon complication. Some lymph glands may swell.

Heart and lungs

The tissues that cover the heart and lung (the pleura and pericardium) may become inflamed. This can cause pleurisy (pains in the side of the chest) or pericarditis (central chest pains). The actual heart or lung tissue is less commonly affected.


Around 1 in 3 people with SLE may develop inflammation of the kidneys, which can lead to the kidneys leaking protein and blood into the urine. This does not usually cause problems unless the disease is very severe. Kidney failure is an uncommon complication.

Brain and nervous system

Mental health problems in SLE are fairly common and include depression and anxiety. Although mild depression can be part of the disease itself, it can also be due to your reaction to having a serious illness. It is not uncommon for people to have difficulties in coping with having SLE. It is important to share any feelings you have with your doctor, as treatment can be really beneficial. Occasionally, inflammation of the brain can lead to epilepsy, headaches, migraines and other conditions.


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Carla Ulbrich


I can answer questions such as "what is lupus?" (How common is it? Is it contagious? What are the symptoms? etc.). Also, I can answer questions such as "what are the available treatments for lupus?" (both standard and alternative). Really, I'll take almost any question on lupus, though. If I can't answer it, I'll be very surprised, but I'll also go find someone who can.


I've been living with lupus (SLE) since 1992. I've had three severe bouts with it, including symptoms such as kidney failure and stroke (if you can call having a stroke a "symptom"). I have completely regained my health, though I have to be mindful to take care of myself, lest I get sick again. I use both mainstream and alternative medicine, and have tried just about everything under the sun to alleviate symptoms. A lot of it worked.

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