What Are the Symptoms of Lupus?

Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on August 18, 2022
2 min read

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.

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

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. 

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. They can consider new treatments or medications that could help.

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