What Are the Symptoms of Lupus?

When you have lupus, something happens to your body’s natural defense system (your immune system) to make it work incorrectly. Instead of only targeting bad things like viruses and bacteria, it also attacks healthy cells and tissues.

There are several types of lupus, and every case is different. Your symptoms might develop quickly, or they may come on slowly. Some could be mild and others severe.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms you have depend on what areas of your body the lupus is affecting. But the most common ones include:

Less common symptoms include:

  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Anemia
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

Most likely they will show up every now and then, or in what your doctor might call “flares.” Your symptoms will often get worse and then get better. Some could totally go away, but others might not improve at all. 

When Should You Call Your Doctor?

Always tell your doctor of any new symptoms you are having. They could be side effects from your medication, a new flare, or any number of other things.

Also call your doctor if your symptoms get worse. He can consider new treatments or medications that could help.

When Should You Call 911?

There are times when you need to get immediate medical care. If you have any of the following symptoms, call 911 and let the medical technician know you have lupus.

  • Severe pain in your belly
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Multiple symptoms, such as severe headache with neck stiffness and fever
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on August 08, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:

Lupus Foundation of America: “How does a person with lupus know when to call the doctor?”

Mayo Clinic: “Lupus Symptoms.”

National Library of Medicine.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “What Is Lupus? Fast Facts: An Easy-to-Read Series of Publications for the Public.”

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