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What are the common symptoms of lupus?
Because lupus can affect so many different organs, a wide range of symptoms can occur. These symptoms may come and go, and different symptoms may appear at different times during the course of the disease.
The most common symptoms of lupus, which are the same for females and males, are:
Extreme fatigue (tiredness)
Painful or swollen joints
Anemia (low numbers of red blood cells or hemoglobin, or low total blood volume)
Swelling (edema) in feet, legs, hands, and/or around eyes
Pain in chest on deep breathing (pleurisy)
Butterfly-shaped rash across cheeks and nose
Sun- or light-sensitivity (photosensitivity)
Abnormal blood clotting
Fingers turning white and/or blue when cold (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
Mouth or nose ulcers
Many of these symptoms occur in other illnesses. In fact, lupus is sometimes called "the great imitator" because its symptoms are often like the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, blood disorders, fibromyalgia, diabetes, thyroid problems, Lyme disease, and a number of heart, lung, muscle, and bone diseases.
You play an important role in helping your doctor manage your disease. Listen to your body, ask questions and stay involved.
Medically reviewed on May 28, 2013