The symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) vary from mild to extremely 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 symptoms that it produces. Symptoms usually flare up and subside intermittently though symptoms of SLE can be chronic in some. SLE may cause:
Butterfly Rash on the Face
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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 May 2013. Accessed December 29, 2014.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 24, 2014. Accessed December 29, 2014.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The Merck Manual Professional Edition website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/musculoskeletal_and_connective_tissue_disorders/autoimmune_rheumatic_disorders/systemic_lupus_erythematosus_sle.html. Updated October 2013. Accessed December 29, 2014.
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. Accessed December 29, 2014.
5/6/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Smyth A, Oliveira GH, et al. 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 2014 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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