Signs and Symptoms of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

Lupus follows many different courses and the symptoms vary from patient to patient. Symptoms may be mild or severe, and in many cases, the disease is marked by periods of remission (improvement in symptoms) and exacerbation, also called flares (worsening of symptoms).

Symptoms of lupus include the following:

  • Chest pain that worsens with taking in a deep breath (pleurisy)
  • Fatigue
  • Fever (usually less than 102° F)
  • General feeling of being unwell (malaise)
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rash (for example, a "butterfly" rash across the cheeks and under the eyes)
  • Sensitivity to sunlight (called photosensitivity)
  • Sores or lesions (ulcers) in the mouth or nose, usually painless
  • Swelling and pain in the joints (e.g., hands, knees)
  • Swollen glands
  • Weight loss

Publication Review By: Donald E. Thomas, Jr., M.D., FACP, FACR, RhMSUS, CCD

Published: 01 Jun 2006

Last Modified: 27 Jan 2015