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Lupus - Symptoms

No two cases of lupus are exactly alike. Signs and symptoms may come on suddenly or develop slowly, may be mild or severe and may be temporary or last for a long period of time. Most people with lupus experience episodes – called flares – of worsening signs and symptoms that eventually improve or even disappear completely for a time with treatment. The course of the disorder is unpredictable, hence long-term treatment and follow-up is essential. The signs and symptoms of lupus will depend on which body systems are affected by the disorder.

In general, SLE signs and symptoms include the following:
  • Fever, fatigue and weight loss
  • Joint pain, stiffness, swelling and diffuse muscle aches
  • Butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose and worsens with sun-exposure
  • Hair loss, mouth ulcers and easy bruising
  • Chest pain on breathing and shortness of breath
  • Swelling around the eye-lids, swelling of the feet and legs and decrease in urine output
  • When lupus affects the nervous system, patients can present with headache, memory or behavioural changes, drowsiness, stroke, muscle weakness, paralysis or fits

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