Lupus Symptoms and Diagnosis
Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that happens when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues. Signs and symptoms of lupus may develop slowly or start suddenly. They can also vary quite a bit, depending on which parts of your body are affected by the disease.
Common symptoms of lupus include:
- Stiffness, swelling, and pain of the joints
- Muscle pain
- Skin lesions that may worsen with sun exposure
- Sensitivity to the sun
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Dry eyes
- Fingers and toes turning white or blue during cold or stressful periods
- Headaches, confusion, or memory loss
- Hair loss
- Swelling in the legs or around the eyes
- Swollen glands
- Mouth ulcers
- Weight loss
Lupus Butterfly Rash
About half of people with lupus experience a “butterfly” rash, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. This skin condition, a hallmark of lupus, most often appears on the face. It is also called a malar rash. The rash resembles the shape of a butterfly, covering both cheeks and the bridge of the nose. It doesn’t affect the nasal folds.
A butterfly rash is typically red, elevated, and scaly. It may occur after sun exposure or at any time. Some people with lupus note that the appearance of a butterfly rash coincides with other symptoms’ becoming more severe.