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Learn the Symptoms of a Lupus Flare

written by: AlyssaAst • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 5/10/2011

Symptoms of a lupus flare can be difficult to recognize because they can come in many forms. The factors that cause a lupus flare can also take multiple forms; making it difficult to prevent the flares from occurring. Learn some of the known symptoms of lupus flares.

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    Lupus is a condition that is classified as a chronic inflammatory disease due to the body’s immune system malfunctioning and attacking its own tissues and organs. This condition can affect multiple areas of the body, which can produce a wide range of symptoms. Lupus often affects the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, and blood cells.

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    Causes

    Although the exact cause of lupus remains unknown, it’s believed genetics and environmental factors are large contributors. The disease has shown to be inherited among certain people. Environmental factors, such as medications and viruses, have also shown to trigger the symptoms of lupus. For this reason, it makes it very difficult to determine what exactly triggers lupus flares, which can produce many symptoms.

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    Symptoms of a Flare

    Depending on the form, the symptoms of a lupus flare can come in multiple forms. People with this condition may also experience symptoms unique to one another. They can occur rapidly or gradually. The period of time a flare lasts for can differ as well. Some symptoms may even be permanent.

    Common symptoms of lupus include fatigue, fever, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include unexplained weight loss or unexplained weight gain. Other symptoms reposted are joint stiffness, joint pain, and swelling in the joints. Mouth sores and hair loss are also common.

    Often, people with lupus will experience a butterfly shaped rash on the face. This rash generally extends from cheek to cheek and over the nose. Skin lesions can also affect the entire body. These lesions intensify when exposed to sun light.

    It’s common for someone with lupus to experience blue or white fingers and toes when they are exposed to the cold. This can also happen during stressful times. Other symptoms of a flare include chest pains, dry eyes, and easy bruising. In rare cases, memory loss can occur. Depression and anxiety are also associated with the condition.

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    What Triggers a Flare?

    Many factors are known to trigger lupus flares, including the exposure to UV lights. Sulfa drugs, infections, and viruses are also known to trigger the flares. Certain antibiotics and injuries have been known to produce the lupus symptoms. Stress, environmental factors, and emotions can also trigger flares.

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    Complications

    Lupus can produce serious complications through out the entire body. The kidneys can begin to fail. This is the number one cause of death in people with the disease. Kidney damage almost always occurs.

    The central nervous system can also be affected by the condition. Symptoms of this can range from headaches to hallucinations. The blood and blood vessels within the body can be affected as well. Anemia and blood clotting complications often develop.

    The lungs and heart are common organs affected by lupus. Often, people with lupus have a very difficult and painful time breathing. Lung infections are common occurrences. Lupus can cause the heart to become inflamed. This increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and other heart conditions.

    Other serious complications of the condition include infections, cancers, and death to bone tissues. Women with lupus can have serious pregnancy complications, including preclampsia. Miscarriage is also a common occurrence.

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    References:

    Lupus: Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lupus/DS00115