Six Rare Symptoms of Lupus: If You Experience These, Seek Medical Attention

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It is important to note that there are several types of Lupus. The most common type is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The other types are discoid lupus erythematosus, drug-induced lupus, subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus and neonatal lupus.

Six Rare Symptoms

The following are the least common or rare symptoms associated with lupus.

Anemia. A decrease in red blood cells, anemia can cause the patient to feel tired and without energy. Over the long term, anemia can cause damage to internal organs such as the heart and brain. It can lead to death in extreme cases. Anemia is commonly treated with dietary supplements and dietary changes.

Headaches. When headaches of any type interfere with normal life activity or are accompanied by other symptoms such as slurred speech, confusion, fever, nausea, loss of balance or problems controlling arms and legs, medical attention should be sought immediately.

For other types of headaches, common treatments include cold compresses, rubbing the painful areas, over-the-counter medication, prescription medication and various relaxation techniques.

Dizziness. Also known as vertigo and light-headedness, this symptom is most commonly treated by resting, avoiding bright lights, avoiding sudden movements and drinking fluids. In some cases, medication is prescribed.

Confusion. Defined as difficulty in thinking with usual clarity or speed, as well as experiencing difficulty in concentration and memory, this symptom is more common in the elderly than in the young. A patient experiencing confusion should not be left alone and might become aggressive. Confusion may be temporary or permanent, depending upon the cause.

Feelings of sadness. There is a difference between feelings of sadness and depression, though they can be an indicator of depression. Some feelings of sadness can be triggered by medication. It is important if experiencing this symptom to report it to the treating physician immediately to ascertain the cause and the best way to treat it.

Seizures. In a study cited by L. Seiden and A. Krumholz, 91 patients were studied. Of these, 24 percent had seizures. Of these patients, 16 had other known or probable causes for the seizures. The authors also reference another study in which 10 percent (16) of 161 SLE patients experienced seizures, but seven of them had seizures prior to the onset of the required diagnostic criteria for SLE. The treatment of the seizures will depend upon the cause and other factors.


While the aforementioned issues can be rare symptoms of lupus, they can also be signs of other problems. Because these are so rarely associated with lupus, it is important to consult a physician regarding their cause and severity when experienced.

Further Reading

Lupus Early Symptoms: Diagnose Lupus Early for Prompt Treatment

Lupus Diagnostic Criteria and Treatment


Lupus – What is Lupus? National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Last Updated October 2009.

Anemia – What is Anemia? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. August 2008.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Author: L. Seiden and A. Krumholz. Last reviewed and revised by Steven C. Schachter, MD; March 2004.

Headache. U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Last updated June 19, 2008 by Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA.

Dizziness. U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Last updated May 22, 2009 by Linda J. Vorvick, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA.

Confusion. U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Insitutes of Health. Last updated February 13, 2008 by Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA