What Are 11 Symptoms of Lupus?

Reviewed on 1/31/2022
Rendering of lupus nephritis (lupus affecting the kidneys)
Common symptoms of lupus include extreme fatigue, joint pain or swelling, swelling in the hands, feet, or around the eyes; fever, headache, sensitivity to light, chest pain when inhaling deeply, butterfly-shaped rash on the cheeks and nose, raised red patches on the skin, sores in the mouth or nose, and arthritis in two or more joints.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own organs and tissues, causing inflammation and pain, commonly in the skin, joints, and internal organs such as the heart and kidneys, though it can affect any part of the body. 

The different types of lupus include: 

Eleven common symptoms of lupus include:

  1. Extreme fatigue 
  2. Joint pain or swelling 
  3. Swelling in the hands, feet, or around the eyes
  4. Fever
  5. Headache
  6. Sensitivity to light 
  7. Chest pain when inhaling deeply caused by inflammation in the lining of the lungs
  8. Butterfly-shaped rash on the cheeks and nose 
  9. Raised red patches on the skin
  10. Sores in the mouth or nose
  11. Arthritis in two or more joints, plus swelling or tenderness

Other symptoms of lupus may include: 

How Is Lupus Diagnosed?

Tests used to help diagnose lupus or rule out other conditions include:

  • Blood tests 
    • ANA 
    • Anti-double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA)
    • Antibody tests 
    • Antiphospholipid antibodies (lupus anticoagulant [LA], immunoglobulin [Ig] G and IgM anticardiolipin [aCL] antibodies, and IgG and IgM anti-beta2-glycoprotein [GP] 1)
    • Blood clotting time tests 
    • C3 and C4 or CH50 complement levels
    • Complement tests 
    • Complete blood count (CBC
    • Creatine kinase (CK)
    • Creatinine
    • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and/or C-reactive protein (CRP) levels
    • Protein electrophoresis
    • Rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies
    • Serologic studies for infection
    • Urine protein-to-creatinine ratio
  • Urine tests
  • Tissue or organ biopsies
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan 
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI
  • X-rays of swollen joints
  • Chest X-rays
  • Electrocardiography 
  • Ultrasound 
  • Echocardiography 
  • Tests to check for pulmonary embolism 
  • Diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide 

What Is the Treatment for Lupus?

Lupus is usually treated with medications to help manage symptoms, such as:

  • Anti-inflammatories and steroids 
  • Antimalarials (to help protect skin from rashes and UV light)
  • Biologics 
  • Immunosuppressives 
  • Anticoagulants 

Home treatment that may help patients manage symptoms of lupus include:

Reviewed on 1/31/2022
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