Variable symptoms characterize the lupus disease but this fact is considered not the same for everyone. Signs of lupus can range from mild to severe and the symptoms can go away but may recur.
Painful or swollen joints, unexplained fever, and fatigue are among the most common symptoms Butterfly or malar rash or red skin rash may appear across the nose and cheeks. These rashes may also occur on the face and ears, upper arms, shoulders, chest, and hands. People with lupus are highly photosensitive, so rashes often appear on skin areas that sunlight can directly hit. Flares can worsen after sun exposure.
The common signs of lupus are:
- Painful or swollen joints and muscle pain
- Unexplained fever
- Red rashes on the face or malar rash
- Pain in the chest when deep breathing
- Abnormal loss of hair
- Bluish or purple fingers or toes from cold or stress (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
- Sensitivity to the sun
- Swelling (edema) in legs or around eyes
- Mouth sores or ulcers
- Inflammation of glands
- Severe fatigue
Lupus SLE is considered a mysterious disease and one with a multitude of smaller signs and symptoms that are often overlooked or wrongly seen as a harbinger of a different disease, leading to misdiagnosis. Lupus starts to become clear when one of the most common symptoms is accompanied by a more suggestive sign or complication.
Signs of lupus are noticeable to most patients but there are other symptoms a doctor may discover upon closer examination and blood tests. It will be required by your doctor that you should have an anti-nuclear anti-body blood test. The ANA test immune system and identifies auto-antibodies that attack the body tissue and cells.
These auto-antibodies are unlike normal antibodies that target bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. A positive ANA test by itself does not mean a person has contracted lupus. In combination with symptoms, physical examination, and other laboratory tests, a positive ANA test result may help diagnose lupus.
There are other autoimmune diseases that produce positive ANA results. Examples are Sjogrens syndrome, rheumatoid, arthritis and scleroderma. Your doctor may order other blood tests just for this reason to accurately diagnose SLE. The other blood tests required are called anti-DNA, anti-RNA and an anti-Sm.
Symptoms such as abnormal blood clotting, Reynaud’s disease (characterized by circulation problems) and seizures may also be considered by your doctor. It isn’t until those symptoms are coupled with other and more suggestive signs of lupus appearing that doctors tend to consider lupus as a possible diagnosis.