BONE & JOINT DISORDERS (ARTHRITIS)
SYSTEMIC LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS – SYMPTOMS
In SLE symptoms tend to increase and decrease in a series of “flares” (periods of increased symptoms) followed by “remissions” (periods of decreased symptoms).
Symptoms include :
- Fever, fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss.
- Joint symptoms
- Muscle pain along with pain and swelling of the joints.
- Small joints of the fingers are most often affected, as well as the wrists and knees.
- Pain may be migratory (moving from one joint to another) in nature.
- Unlike other inflammatory arthritis symptoms may begin during pregnancy and there may be a past history of spontaneous abortions.
- Skin symptoms
- A typical butterfly shaped rash across the cheek and nose which is photosensitive (sensitive to sunlight).
- A discoid rash may be seen in some cases. This rash appears as a firm, round red plaques with raised borders.
- Mildly painful ulcers in the mouth, nose and genital regions.
- Alopecia (loss of hair)
Butterfly Shaped Rash
- Heart problems : SLE may cause inflammation of heart muscles resulting in abnormal heart rhythm and heart failure.
- Lung problems : It can cause inflammatory process in the lung causing fibrosing alveolitis and pneumonitis resulting in painful breathing, impairment of ventilation and gaseous exchange in the lungs.
- Neurological symptoms : Some Patients may present with these symptoms.
- Psychiatric disturbances like severe depression, dementia (loss of memory), fits, hallucinations.
- Other feature may include cranial nerve lesions, hemiplegia (paralysis of half side of the body), cerebellar ataxia, peripheral neuropathy.
- Eye symptoms
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurring of vision
- Conjunctivitis (inflammation of conjunctiva), episcleritis (inflammation of sclera) which can lead to loss of vision.
- Kidney problems : Involvement of kidneys is a very serious complication of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus as it may result in nephrotic syndrome and renal failure.
- Other symptoms may include
- Pain or swelling in limbs due to thrombosis (blood clots)
- Pain in abdomen due to inflammation of peritoneum (lining of abdominal cavity), pancreas, spleen or blood vessels.
- Enlargement of spleen and lymphadenopathy (enlargement of lymph glands).