Because lupus can affect so many different organs, a wide range of signs and symptoms can occur. Lupus symptoms may come and go, and different symptoms may appear at different times during the course of the disease.
Common symptoms of lupus
The most common lupus symptoms (which are the same for men and women) are:
- Extreme fatigue (tiredness)
- Painful or swollen joints
- Anemia (low numbers of red blood cells or hemoglobin, or low total blood volume)
- Swelling (edema) in feet, legs, hands, and/or around eyes
- Pain in chest on deep breathing (pleurisy)
- Butterfly-shaped rash across cheeks and nose
- Sun- or light-sensitivity (photosensitivity)
- Hair loss
- Abnormal blood clotting
- Fingers turning white and/or blue when cold (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
- Mouth or nose ulcers
Many of these symptoms occur in other illnesses. In fact, lupus is sometimes called "the great imitator" because its symptoms are often like the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, blood disorders, fibromyalgia, diabetes, thyroid problems, Lyme disease, and a number of heart, lung, muscle, and bone diseases.
You play an important role in helping your doctor manage your disease. Listen to your body, ask questions and stay involved.
Could It Be Lupus?
Wondering if the symptoms you're experiencing could be lupus? Watch this video, then answer a brief questionnaire to help understand the relation of your symptoms to lupus.