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First Lupus Symptoms

Updated on January 1, 2012

The most common type of lupus is called systemic lupus erythematosus, also known as SLE. This is a disease affecting the immune system. It is a chronic disease with no known cure at this time, though with proper treatment a person can live an almost normal life during periods of remission, with the exception of when the disease is flaring up. The first lupus symptoms are aches and pains in the joints, fever, and excessive fatigue. One of the most familiar symptoms is the lupus rash (also known as the butterfly rash) on the face, which resembles a butterfly spreading its wings across the cheeks and nose area.


Common Lupus Symptoms

  • Swollen joints. The muscles in knees, wrists, and shoulders become inflamed causing moderate to severe discomfort. They may feel warm to the touch.
  • Fatigue. This may be due in part to anemia, but it is also a symptom of the body’s fight against the assault of its own immune system.
  • Sores in and around the mouth. These mouth ulcers can be very painful.
  • Hair loss. Someone with lupus may notice that they are losing more hair than is typical when they brush or comb daily.
  • Cold fingertips or toes. The fingers or toes may seem cold, even in warm weather, and they may have a purplish hue.
  • Butterfly rash. The rash starts on one cheek drapes over the nose and ends on the other cheek. This kind of rash can also be seen on the legs, arms of trunk of the body. Not everyone who has lupus also has the butterfly rash.

Not So Common Lupus Symptoms

Since so many people really do not know what early lupus symptoms are they often have more medical issues to deal with by the time they get a diagnosis then they should. For example, since lupus causes the body’s immune system to attack its own organs the symptoms that may send a person to their health care provider may actually be a reflection of kidney damage. They might see blood in their urine, and if they do they should get to their doctor immediately.

Another warning sign of lupus is difficulty breathing, or chest pains that may be caused by inflammation around the heart, known as pleurisy.

See a Doctor Right Away

No two lupus suffers have the exact same symptoms, even though they may be similar. Some people will find that the early lupus symptoms they have to contend with are very severe, while others will suffer only mild symptoms. Because the symptoms may be mild at first, it may be difficult to get a correct diagnosis. Lupus mimics other illnesses, such as chronic fatigue, the common flu and rheumatoid arthritis.

If you suspect you, or someone you are caring for has lupus, make an appointment as soon as possible with a physician. They will do tests to determine if indeed you are suffering from lupus. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, treatment can begin and you can get some relief from your symptoms.


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  • mathira profile image

    mathira 6 years ago from chennai

    Very useful and interesting hub.

  • normanwinkfield profile image

    Norman Winkfield 6 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

    Very useful information. I am a massage therapist have two clients with lupus. Thanks to you now I am able better help them.

  • ytsenoh profile image

    Cathy 6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

    Interesting hub on this subject. I know someone who suffers from this condition. Thank you for bringing this information. Thumbs up.