Spectrum Health Lakeland / Lakeland Rheumatology / Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Inflammation to the Body

Lupus - WEBSystemic lupus erythematosus (lupus) is a disease that causes your body’s immune system to attack its own cells and tissues. It causes inflammation of various parts of the body and can cause rashes, fatigue, pain, and fever. 

Lupus is a chronic disease that affects each person differently. Symptoms of lupus may come and go. These are sometimes known as flare-ups, periods of remission, and relapse. Common symptoms of lupus are:

  • Anemia
  • Butterfly-shaped rash on the nose and cheeks of the face (malar rash
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Hair loss
  • Pale, blue, or red fingers triggered by cold, stress, or illness (Raynaud's phenomenon)
  • Raised rash on the head, arms, chest, or back (discoid rash)
  • Rashes caused by sunlight
  • Sores in the mouth or nose
  • Swollen glands
  • Swollen or painful joints (arthritis
  • Weight loss

Lupus is hard to diagnose because it has many possible symptoms that could have other causes. And the symptoms can occur slowly over time. It is important to know the warning signs that a relapse, or flare-up, is going to happen. Knowing your warning signs can help you work with your healthcare provider to adjust your medicine.

Treating lupus can be complex and may require many drugs or immunosuppressants to achieve remission. You may also need a team of specialists, in addition to your rheumatologist, to ensure organ damage does not happen.