What Are the Symptoms of Lupus in a Woman?

Reviewed on 10/14/2021

Lupus tends to affect women between the ages of 15 and 44, and can increase their risk of health problems such as coronary artery disease (CAD), osteoporosis, and kidney disease.
Lupus tends to affect women between the ages of 15 and 44, and can increase their risk of health problems such as coronary artery disease (CAD), osteoporosis, and kidney disease.

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: 

Lupus affects women most commonly during their fertile years, between the ages of 15 and 44. Lupus can increase the risk of health problems in women, such as: 

Common symptoms of lupus in both women and men include:

Other symptoms of lupus in both women and men may include: 

What Causes Lupus?

It is not known what causes lupus, but it is thought to have genetic, hormonal, immunologic, and/or environmental triggers.

How Is Lupus Diagnosed?

There is no single test to diagnose lupus. Tests that may help diagnose lupus or rule out other conditions include:

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

SLIDESHOW

Lupus Symptoms, Rash, and Treatment See Slideshow

What Is the Treatment for Lupus?

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

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

Other steps to help patients manage symptoms of lupus include:

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Reviewed on 10/14/2021
References
https://www.lupus.org/

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/epidemiology-and-pathogenesis-of-systemic-lupus-erythematosus?search=What%20Causes%20Lupus%3F&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1#H7

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-manifestations-and-diagnosis-of-systemic-lupus-erythematosus-in-adults?search=Lupus&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1#H2215760526

https://www.cdc.gov/lupus/basics/women.htm