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Skin rashes are a common symptom of lupus.

Skin rashes are a common symptom of lupus.
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Lupus symptoms

1-minute read

Different people have different symptoms, and one person may have different symptoms at different times. Symptoms can be vague.

Lupus can be very unpredictable. Some people have relatively few symptoms after the initial flare up, while others have periods of fairly good health (known as remission) alternating with flare-ups of disease.

The most common symptoms include:

  • pain, stiffness or swelling in joints (experienced by about 50 per cent of people with lupus)
  • skin rashes which can appear or become worse after exposure to the sun (experienced by about 20 per cent of people with lupus). A 'butterfly rash' on the cheeks and nose is common
  • fever
  • feeling tired and weak (experienced by about 10 per cent of people with lupus)

Other fairly common symptoms are:

  • loss of appetite and loss of weight
  • hair loss
  • muscle aches
  • feeling generally unwell
  • ulcers in the mouth
  • inflammation of the lining of the lungs (the pleura) or the sac around the heart (the pericardium), making you feel short of breath or giving you pain in the chest
  • kidney problems
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon, in which fingers and toes turn blue or white in the cold
  • depression
  • seizures
  • problems with eyesight
  • swollen glands
  • problems with tendons, causing your fingers to pull in abnormal positions
  • anaemia

Last reviewed: August 2018

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