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Lupus (Systemic) Erythematosus Signs and Symptoms (SLE)

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is commonly known as lupus. This devastating form of arthritis is autoimmune in nature, whereby the immune system’s antibodies mistakenly identify the body’s tissue as foreign substances and thereby attacks the connective tissue, causing inflammation and pain. This autoimmune process can affect mostly the skin, joints, blood and kidneys.  We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of lupus below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, supportive natural therapies, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Signs and Symptoms of Lupus (SLE) are as follows:

  • Butterfly-shaped Facial Rash
  • Disc-shaped Lesions on the Scalp, Face, Neck, and Ears
  • Low Grade Fever
  • Great Fatigue
  • Headaches or Migraines
  • Joint Pain
  • Muscle Aches
  • Mouth Sores
  • Sensitivity to the Sun
  • Weight Loss
  • Enlarged Lymph nodes
  • Anemia
  • Amnesia
  • Nausea
  • Rough, Red Skin Patches
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Chest Pain
  • Red-purple Areas on Palms and Fingers
  • Tingling, Numbness, Coldness in Hands and Feet
  • Psychosis
  • Presence of Lupus Antibodies

Lupus Diagnosis

The American College of Rheumatology has developed a list of criteria for a lupus diagnosis.  To be officially diagnosed with lupus, you must have at least four of these criteria:

  1. Facial rash:  known as malar rash, it is a persistent flat or raised butterfly-shaped red rash that covers the cheeks below the eyes.
  2. Discoid rash:  raised red patches with scaling and scarring.
  3. Photosensitivity:  rashes that develop in reaction to sunlight or other forms of light, such as fluorescent light
  4. Oral Ulcers:  sores in the mouth or nose that are usually painless.
  5. Arthritis:  swelling or tenderness in the joints, mostly affecting the hands, knees and wrists.
  6. Inflammation:  painful inflammation in the membranes of the lungs, heart, and abdomen
  7. Kidney disease:  loss of protein in the urine, or kidney inflammation.
  8. Neurological problems:  unexplained seizures, memory problems, confusion, and severe depression.
  9. Blood abnormalities: four different blood disorders are commonly found in people with lupus.  These are: 1) hemolytic anemia, 2) leukopenia, 3) thrombocytopenia, and 4) lymphocytopenia.
  10. Immunological problems as evidenced by immunological tests.
  11. Positive antinuclear antibody:  a high level is more indicative of lupus.

Suggested Books for People With Symptoms of Lupus:

The Lupus Book: A Guide for Patients and Their Families
Daniel J. Wallace
Lupus: The Essential Clinician’s Guide (Oxford American Rheumatology Library)
Daniel J. Wallace

New Hope for People with Lupus: Your Friendly, Authoritive Guide to the Latest in Traditional and Complementary Solutions
Theresa Foy DiGeronimo
Healing Lupus: Steps in a Personal Journey
Waverly Evans

Natural Ways To Address Lupus

Consume a diet that emphasizes natural, whole foods such as legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables, non-mercury fish, healthy fats and oils, and nuts and seeds. Eat plenty of low-to-no-mercury cold-water fish. Canned sardines in olive oil are especially beneficial as they are high in omega-3 fatty acids which will reduce inflammation as long as the typical omega-6’s and omega-9’s (inflammatory) are reduced in the diet.

Avoid refined, processed, packaged, and sugary foods as these increase inflammation and feed an overgrowth of yeast and fungus in the small intestine.

Regular exercise is very beneficial for increasing circulation.

Get plenty of rest and reduce stress. Learning to practice self relaxation and/or meditation every day will significantly improve all autoimmune symptoms and disorders. This is very very important as stress is one of the key triggers.

Why Detoxification is Important?

If there is one thing that seems to be true, it is that autoimmune disease patients have a toxic body. The more discomfort you are in, the more pain you are feeling, the sicker and more toxic you are. Inflammation and irritation are classic signs of a toxic body. Although environmental toxins are not the only cause of the autoimmune process, it may be what is the root cause of the other factors such as candida, viral or bacterial infections.

Lupus Resources

General Patient Resources

  • Lupus Foundation of America

Learn about lupus, join the online community, read the research, find resources.

  • Alliance For Lupus Research

Information about lupus, lupus research, news, events and more.

  • S.L.E. Lupus Foundation

Leading the Fight Against Lupus.

  • Lupus Canada Online

Lupus Canada is a national voluntary organization dedicated to improving the lives of people living with lupus through advocacy, education, public awareness, support and research.

  • The Lupus Site Message Boards

Posts on lupus resources, news, awareness, symptoms, medications, complementary therapies, find a lupus doctor, and more.

  • We Have Lupus . com

Support forums and discussion community for Lupus erythematosus.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms and treatment of lupus, including systemic lupus erythematosus.

  • Web MD

Lupus Health Center.

  • Medline Plus

A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.