Lupus symptoms sometimes overlap with symptoms of other disorders that is why it is best to consult your doctor and be diagnosed properly. This will also prevent you from developing other complications when symptoms are not detected at early stage.
Here is a checklist of lupus symptoms taken from Lupus Foundation of America. Remember that lupus symptoms are not then same for all lupus patients — the symptoms depend on the body organs or tissues that are affected and the severity.
Achy, painful and/or swollen joints for more than three months
Most patients with lupus had arthritis as the first sign of the disease. The patients experience redness, swelling and warm knees and joints as well as morning stiffness. Painful arthritis is common on both sides of the wrists, small joints of the hands, elbows, knees and ankles.
Fingers and/or toes become red or blue, or feel numb or painful
This is also called Raynaud’s phenomenon which affects the small vessels that bring blood to the skin and the soft tissues of the fingers and toes.
Sores in your mouth or nose that lasted more than five days, or sores on your skin that would not heal
Skin rashes or lesions develop in these areas and usually tell the doctor that lupus is indeed the cause for the red skin patches.
Anemia, a low white blood cell count, or a low platelet count
Lupus patients develop anemia because the red blood cells are decreased.
Redness or rash in the shape of a butterfly across your nose and cheeks
Butterfly rash on the face is one indicator of lupus similar to sores and scaly patches in skin lupus.
A fever over 100° F for more than a few days
Low grade fever coupled with other symptoms of lupus will confirm the disease.
Photosensitivity, a reaction to sun or light that causes a skin rash to appear or get worse
Exposure to sunlight worsens skin rashes especially in fair-skinned lupus patients.
Chest pain while taking deep breaths
Difficulty in breathing with stabbing chest pain and cough can develop from inflamed bronchial sacs or pleurisy.
Protein in your urine, or swelling in your legs and ankles on both sides at the same time
Urine sample will enable the doctor to tell if you have lupus nephritis which is a serious kind of lupus affecting the kidney.
Persistent, extreme fatigue and weakness for days or weeks at a time, even after plenty of sleep
Fatigue is an indication of lupus flare or attack. Lupus patients may be unable to do regular activities and exercise.
Seizure or unexplained confusion that last for more than an hour
Some lupus patients develop nervous system problems like difficulty with memory or concentration, anxiety and depression.
Fifty percent of lupus patients can have blood clots because of the increase or decrease in antiphospholipid antibodies such as lupus anticoagulant (LA), anticardiolipin antibody (aCL), anti-beta glycoprotein (anti-betaGPI) and anti-prothrombin.
Heart attack or stroke
Pericarditis or swelling of the heart sac causes pain in the left chest which can spread to the nearby points like the neck, back, shoulders, or arms
This is a complication of SLE brought by decrease in lupus anticoagulant which makes pregnant women prone to recurrent miscarriages.
Sudden, unexplained hair loss
Periods of hair loss, usually in patches or randomly spread over the head is a sign of lupus, although hair loss will not be permanent.
Knowing lupus symptoms before you visit your doctor can be a big help in controlling or managing your lupus. You may not get rid of lupus but surely you can live with it and survive any flares or complications.