Reviewed by JoAnn Zell, MD

Many people with lupus feel frustrated and angry because they have been ill for months or even years before they are told that they have lupus. It is often difficult to diagnose the disease in its early stages. Lupus symptoms are similar to those of other diseases and can come and go even without treatment.

Symptoms of lupus may include:

  • Rash over the cheeks (malar or butterfly rash),
  • Round raised patches (discoid rash) usually on the scalp or ears,
  • Sensitivity to the sun or other ultraviolet light,
  • Ulcers or sores in the mouth,
  • Pain and swelling in joints,
  • Inflammation around the lungs, heart or abdomen,
  • Kidney inflammation,
  • Problems in the nervous system such as seizures, strokes or psychosis,
  • Abnormalities in the blood such as low blood counts.

Discoid lupus occurs when a person only has a patchy, round rash, and no other symptoms.

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