4 Unexpected Symptoms of Lupus

4 Unexpected Symptoms of Lupus

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and a variety of symptoms throughout your body. As with all autoimmune diseases, lupus is characterized by an overactive immune system that attacks healthy tissues, not just invasive pathogens.

African Americans, Native Americans, and Asians are among the racial and ethnic groups that are more likely to develop lupus. Women are 4-12 times more likely to develop lupus than men are.

The most distinctive sign of lupus is a red, butterfly-shaped rash that extends across your nose and cheeks. However, not everyone develops this symptom. Because lupus can affect any of your organs, it can also trigger a variety of unexpected symptoms.

Kimberly Bolling, MD, is a caring and expert clinician who specializes in diagnosing and treating lupus at our offices in Bowie, Maryland. The sooner you get a diagnosis of lupus, the sooner your symptoms can be addressed and your disease managed to prevent disease flares and complications.

Do you have lupus? The following four, unexpected symptoms could be a sign that you do.

1.  Are you tired all the time?

When you have lupus, your immune system is on overdrive. It not only has to attack bacteria and viruses that threaten your health, it’s continually and chronically attacking your own healthy tissues and organs.

Unexplained fatigue can be one result of this perpetual battle. If you get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night, and you don't have sleep apnea, your fatigue could be caused by an overactive immune system.

2. Are your joints painful or swollen?

Arthritis isn’t the only cause of joint pain and swelling. Lupus attacks the cartilage and bursa that protect your joints and keep the bones from rubbing against one another.

If you have lupus, your joints may also feel warm to the touch. In contrast to osteoarthritis, which may be limited to joints that get the most wear and tear, such as hips and knees, lupus can create joint pain all over your body. Your muscles may ache, too.

3. Does sunlight cause you to break out in a rash?

One of the most common triggers for a lupus flare is exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Usually, avoiding the sun helps keep your flares in check.


However, sometimes you’re so sensitive to UV that even indoor lights can trigger an attack. In addition to rashes, you might also experience joint pain, fever, or fatigue after light exposure.

4. Do you have ‘cold sores’?

Those blisters on your mouth that you think are cold sores may not be caused by the herpes virus at all. Lupus can cause painless or painful sores on your:

You may also have a sore or dry mouth.

You can get help

If these unusual signs of lupus resonate with you, come for a diagnosis as soon as possible. If you do have lupus, Dr. Bolling may recommend a combination of lifestyle changes and medications to keep you comfortable and subdue your disease.

Managing lupus is also important to prevent or slow the disease’s progression. Without treatment, lupus can endanger your organs, including your kidneys.

Don’t dismiss your nonspecific symptoms, especially if you’re in a high-risk group for lupus. To find out why you’re not feeling your best, call us at 301-352-0090 for a lupus evaluation or request an appointment online.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Why Do My Joints Hurt Worse in Winter?

Why Do My Joints Hurt Worse in Winter?

If you have arthritis, you may dread winter weather. As if boots and endless layers of clothing don’t make it hard enough to move around, your joints don’t want to cooperate, either. Is it really due to the winter chill, or is it all in your head? 
Will Medication Help Me Lose Weight?

Will Medication Help Me Lose Weight?

If you’ve struggled for a while with being overweight or obese, you’re probably intrigued by the recent news about medications that help you shed pounds without consciously restricting calories. How do these medications work, and do they help?
The Best Time to Schedule Your Annual Flu Shot

The Best Time to Schedule Your Annual Flu Shot

When autumn rolls around, so does the latest mutated virus that causes this season’s influenza (i.e., flu). The earlier in the season you get the flu shot, the better protected you are. Here’s how to time your shot for maximal effect.

3 Reasons Your Doctor Is Performing an EKG

An electrocardiogram (EKG) is a simple test that lets your doctor “see” inside your heart by evaluating the electricity it produces. Don’t worry if your doctor orders an EKG. It’s painless, results are fast, and the information can be life-saving.
Can Warm Weather Make Arthritis Feel Better?

Can Warm Weather Make Arthritis Feel Better?

If you’re of a certain age (and you probably are, if you have arthritis), you may remember the children’s literary character, Uncle Wiggily, who complained that cold and rainy days made his “rheumatism” flare up. But is the reverse true, too?