Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Symptoms can be mild or very severe. It can affect one part of the body or many. Though symptoms can be lasting, there are often times without symptoms in between.
You may have:
- Fever without signs of infection
- Weight loss
- Swollen and painful joints
- Swollen muscles
- Skin rashes over areas exposed to sunlight, especially a butterfly shaped rash over the nose and cheeks
- Sensitivity to light
- Mouth sores
- Hair loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Belly pain
- Problems breathing
- Chest pain
|Common SLE Rash Sites|
|Facial butterfly rash is a hallmark symptom of SLE.|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
SLE can’t be cured. Symptoms can be managed with medicines and lifestyle changes. Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. It will depend on the severity and location of your symptoms.
There are many medicines that are used, such as:
- Antimalarial drugs
- Drugs to suppress the immune system
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- B-cell therapy
- Blood thinners
You may need to take more than one of these medicines.
Some changes can help you prevent flare-ups. Changes to your medicines may also be used to prevent them. Work with your doctor to make a plan. This may mean that you:
- Learn the signs of a flare-up and call your doctor right away
- Get treatment for any cuts or infections right away
- Manage symptoms for other chronic health problems
- Avoid sun exposure
- If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit
- Eat healthy foods
- Limit stress
- Get enough rest
- Exercise regularly if your doctor says it is okay
SLE is best managed with strong communication between you and your healthcare team. Make sure to go to all appointments as advised. Let your doctor know about any changes in your health or care program.
Depression in people with SLE is common. Surround yourself with supportive family and friends. If you are still having problems, seek counseling or join a support group.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Lupus; SLE; Lupus, Systemic)
Lupus Foundation of America http://www.lupus.org
Lupus Research Institute http://www.lupusresearchinstitute.org
The Kidney Foundation of Canada http://kidney.ca
Lupus Canada http://www.lupuscanada.org
Handout on health: Systemic lupus erythematosus. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Lupus/default.asp. Updated June 30, 2016. Accessed August 15, 2018.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115873/Systemic-lupus-erythematosus-SLE . Updated July 20, 2018. Accessed August 15, 2018.
Understanding lupus. Lupus Foundation of America website. Available at: http://www.lupus.org/answers/topic/understanding-lupus. Accessed August 15, 2018.
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