Everyone reacts to Lupus differently. Signs and symptoms may come on suddenly or develop slowly, may be mild or severe, and may be temporary or permanent. Most people with lupus have mild disease characterized by episodes—called flares—when signs and symptoms get worse for a while, then improve or even disappear completely for a time.
The signs and symptoms of lupus experienced will depend on which body systems are affected by the disease. The most common signs and symptoms include:
- Fatigue and fever
- Joint pain, stiffness and swelling
- Butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose
- Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure (photosensitivity)
- Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods (Raynaud's Disease)
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Dry eyes
- Headaches, confusion and memory loss
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.
Learn more at the Lupus Foundation of America.