SLE Lupus

SLE Lupus: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE Lupus occurs when one or more of the internal organs are involved. Because so many of the symptoms of Lupus are very general, can come and go in periods classified as flares and remission, and can also be symptoms of other health issues, the diagnosis can be a difficult one. It is generally considered more serious than the other two types of lupus.

Symptoms of SLE also vary greatly form one person to the next, and can change often for those living with Lupus. Because of this it is often referred to as the great imitator.

Common, chronic complaints are fever, aches and pain in joints, fatigue, loss of mental clarity, and memory problems. SLE can manifest itself in the skin, blood and lymph system, heart and blood vessels, kidneys, lungs, musculoskeletal, nervous systems, and the gastrointestinal tract.

  • A common manifestation of the skin is the classic butterfly rash. This rash is usually triggered by sun exposure and is characterized by reddened cheeks and nose.

sle lupus Picture of SLE Lupus

sle lupus Picture of SLE Lupus


  • About half of those living with Lupus will have low red blood cell counts, low platelet counts, and low white blood cell counts. Bleeding, easy bruising and blood clots can result from this.
  • A lupus patient may also have cardiac complications such as inflammation of the sac around the heart (pericarditis) causing chest pain, and abnormal tissue growth on the heart valves. Hardening of the arteries (Atherosclerosis) which can lead to chest pain and heart attacks also tends to occur more often and advances more rapidly in those living with Lupus.
  • More than half of those living with Lupus will experience kidney involvement. Usually presenting itself by blood in the urine, excess protein in the urine, or high blood pressure.
  • Inflammation of the lungs and lining of the lungs (pleurisy) can lead to chest pain and shortness of breath. A collection of water between the lungs and the chest wall (Pleural effusion) can also occur.

Joint pain is a very common complaint from those suffering from SLE. The small joints of the hand and the wrist are usually affected. The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that more than 90 percent of those affected with SLE will experience joint and/or muscle pain at some time during the course of their illness. Unlike Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus arthritis usually does not cause severe destruction of the joints.

  • Some Lupus patients may also experience nervous system problems. Common symptoms include headache, seizures, decreased mental clarity ("Lupus Fog"), memory problems, anxiety, and severe depression. Less common are psychosis, and strokes.
  • Many of those living with Lupus will also develop sores in their mouth and nose.
  • Some may also experience abdominal pain accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea if Lupus involves the intestines.

Return from the SLE Lupus page to the  Types of Lupus page or to the  Living with Lupus & Fighting Together home page.

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