The symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) vary from mild to severe and debilitating. In some, only one part of the body—for example, the skin—is affected. In others, many parts of the body are affected. Each case is unique in the combination of symptoms that it produces. Symptoms usually flare up and subside intermittently though symptoms of SLE can be chronic in some. SLE may cause:
A Hallmark Symptom of SLE
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Over time SLE can lead to complications, such as:
SLE may also cause complications during pregnancy. There may be a flare-up of symptoms, development of kidney problems, or a dangerous high blood pressure called pre-eclampsia. There is also an increased risk of premature birth , stillbirth , miscarriage, or growth problems with the baby during pregnancy.
Lupus. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Lupus/default.asp. Updated February 2015. Accessed May 17, 2016.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115873/Systemic-lupus-erythematosus-SLE. Updated September 15, 2016. Accessed October 6, 2016.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/musculoskeletal_and_connective_tissue_disorders/autoimmune_rheumatic_disorders/systemic_lupus_erythematosus_sle.html. Updated June 2013. Accessed May 17, 2016.
What are the most common symptoms of lupus? Lupus Foundation of America website. Available at: http://www.lupus.org/answers/entry/common-symptoms-of-lupus. Updated May 28, 2013. Accessed May 17, 2016.
5/6/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115873/Systemic-lupus-erythematosus-SLE. Smyth A, Oliveira GH, Lahr BD, Bailey KR, Norby SM, Garovic VD. A systematic review and meta-analysis of pregnancy outcomes in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and lupus nephritis. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2010;5(11):2060-2068.
Last reviewed May 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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