11 Signs That May Indicate You Have Lupus

Marta Ribeiro avatar

by Marta Ribeiro |

Share this article:

Share article via email

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that is very difficult to diagnose because of its myriad of symptoms. Each lupus patient is treated differently according to appearance of symptoms and symptom severity. Here are some of the many signs and symptoms of lupus that doctors use to diagnose the disease, according to the Lupus Research Alliance. A person needs to have least four of the symptoms to be diagnosed with lupus.

1. Malar rash: A red rash spreading across the cheeks and over the bridge of the nose, usually shaped like a butterfly.

2. Discoid patches: Raised patches of red on the skin with a lighter center and outer red rim. The patches can be found anywhere on the body, but they are usually on the face and scalp.

3. Photosensitivity: Lupus patients may find their skin is very sensitive to the sun’s UV rays. They may break out in a rash or experience more severe sunburn. Patients may feel more joint pain and an overall feeling of weakness or fatigue after sun exposure.

MORE: Nine important facts about lupus you may not know. 

4. Ulcers: Ulcers in the nose or mouth (canker sores) are a common symptom of lupus.

5. Non-erosive arthritis: Lupus patients may experience pain, tenderness, or swelling in their joints. In come cases, they might have excess fluid (effusion) surrounding the joints.

6. Heart and lung problems: The lining of the heart and the lungs may become inflamed, causing either (or both) pericarditis and pleuritis.

MORE: What’s the prognosis for lupus patients?

7. Neurological conditions: Lupus patients may suffer from seizures and convulsions. In rare cases, they may also experience psychosis.

8. Kidney disorders: Many patients will experience renal problems including urinary casts and/or too much protein in their urine.

9. Hematologic conditions: Blood disorders such as anemia, low platelet counts, or low white blood cell counts may be detected in lupus patients.

MORE: 12 of the most commonly asked questions about lupus.

10. Immunologic disorders: Tests will be carried out on lupus patients to see if they possess various antibodies known to immunologic disorders. One of the tests is the anti-double stranded DNA test.

11. Antinuclear antibodies: People with suspected lupus will be screened for anti-nuclear antibodies called ANAs.

MORE: What does a lupus flare feel like?

Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.