There are two main forms of this autoimmune disease – Systemic lupus erythematosus and Discoid lupus erythematosus.

Systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the most common and debilitating form which can cause inflammation of the joints, tendons, connective tissue and major organs such as the kidneys and heart. However, the most obvious symptom is a butterfly-shaped rash which occurs across the cheeks and nose.

Causes of Lupus

It’s generally believed that lupus is caused by alterations in the immune system. The body’s immune system normally fights foreign bacteria and viruses; however, with lupus, the immune system may fail to recognize “self” substances and will make antibodies that attack the body’s own tissue. This is called autoimmunity. The body may also fail to clear antigens (foreign particles), and certain white blood cells may behave abnormally.


Most researchers feel that it is likely that there is a genetic component to lupus. The condition can be considered hereditary in that people who have a family history or lupus itself, other autoimmune condtions, or allergic conditions, seem to be at increased risk of developing the disease. This is not to say that everyone with a family history such as this will develop lupus. Researchers have not discovered a single gene that is linked to lupus but have found groups of genes, particularly on chromosomes 6, 16 and 20, which seem to indicate a person is at greater risk of developing the condition.
Symptoms of Lupus

SLE symptoms may develop slowly over months or years, or they may appear suddenly. Symptoms tend to be worse during winter months, perhaps because prolonged exposure to sunlight in the summer causes a gradual build-up of factors that trigger symptoms months later.

Each person with lupus has slightly different symptoms that can range from mild to severe and may come and go over time. However, some of the most common symptoms of lupus include painful or swollen joints (arthritis), unexplained fever, and extreme fatigue. A characteristic red skin rash (the so-called butterfly or malar rash) may appear across the nose and cheeks. Affecting what the Lupus Foundation of America estimates is 500,000 to 1.5 million Americans, lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood, and kidneys

Lupus treated

Steroids. Steroid creams can be applied directly to rashes. The use of creams is usually safe and effective, especially for mild rashes. The use of steroid creams or tablets in low doses can be effective for mild or moderate features of lupus. Steroids also can be used in higher doses when internal organs are threatened. Unfortunately, high doses also are most likely to produce side effects.

Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine)Commonly used to help keep mild lupus-related problems, such as skin and joint disease, under control. This drug is also effective at preventing lupus flares.

antimalarial drugs such as chloroquine phosphate or hydroxychloroquine for rashes, arthritis and malaise

immunosuppressive and cytotoxic drugs such as Immuran (azathioprine) and Cytoxan (cycyclophosphamide) are prescribed with vital organs are involved and/or corticosteroids aren’t effective.

9 thoughts on “What Are The Symptoms Of Lupus Flare

  1. Anonymous

    Protein and blood in urine & Lupus?
    I already know I have grade 4 lupus nephritis (glomerulornephritis) , but today I did a urine dipstick test myself ( I am a student Nurse) and I the results said * BLO LARGE * and *PRO >=300mg/dl*. I also have been experiencing backache near my kidneys. What should I do? I do not have any symptoms of a lupus flare but I am really worried as I have had acute renal failure because of my lupus before and I really really don’t want to go through that again. Could it be because of the small amount of permanent damage they said I had last time, or is this still abnormal?

  2. kevin

    Do you think im having a lupus flare? i have many symptoms?
    Im a 17 yr old male and i was diagnosed with lupus about 3 years ago..since my diagnosis i haven’t really had any problems with the disease. For the past two weeks ive had severe loss of appetite, nausau, dizziness and some random joint pains. Ive only vomited two times in these last few weeks but the nausau and dizziness is really bothering me. I can’t tell if the appetite loss is what is causing the other symptoms, because i only eat occasionally because i dont feel good when i do eat. I am trying to make an appointment with my doctor now, but if anyone has any good imformation please let me know. Greatly appreciated.

    1. buniluv34

      I am so sorry to hear about your diagnoses. My wonderful sister had lupus and just passed away last year. The lupus could be attacking your stomach at any time. That could be your problem at the moment. One thing I learned over the years with my sis is that Lupus can attack any and every part of your body at any time. One week it would be attacking her legs, the next it would be in her stomach. Did you happen to watch the “View” when Snoop dog was on with his wife and daughter. His daughter has Lupus and they found a new drug that’s going to be on the market soon. (he has money that’s why he can get it for his daughter now) she had crippling in her hands and many of the severe symptoms that my sister had, she just didn’t have them until she was about 35yrs old . His daughter looks fine now and says she has no problems with her Lupus at this time(she is about 7yrs old) my sister passed at 48yrs old. If you can go on the “View” website and find that episode, Please do. The worst thing about the disease is the Prednisone they put you on. That med tore her apart piece by piece (brittle bones, etc”). Good Luck with everything and know that they are making great progress with Lupus

  3. betsy_51783

    Does anyone have discoid lupus and is pregnant?What are your symptoms? How do you deal with them?
    I am about 9 weeks pregnant and I cannot take my medication to help prevent the rash. Every day about 2 hours after I wake up I get a flare up on my hands, arms, legs, ankels, neck and chest and they seeming to get worse. Is this normal? I can’t get into my dermatologist for 2 weeks and none of my other doctors will touch the lupus issue. HELP!

    1. Linda R

      Call the dermatologist back and be very firm about getting in earlier. If they gatekeepers still refuse, ask to have the doctor call you that day. If that does not work, call your rheumatologist.

      Personally, I would look for another dermatologist ASAP. Lupus patients need to be able to see their doctors within a reasonable time when there is a problem Two weeks is not reasonable. It is most likely the receptionist who is the obstacle. Asking the doctor to call you should by pass him or her. Don’t bother telling her your whole story. You can also fax the doctor explaining your symptoms clearly and asking him or her to call you ASAP. You can also call after hours and get the doctor’s service and leave a message with them if you think your other approaches are not getting through to the doctor.

      You might also call your ob/gyn and ask if over the counter cortison cream is permissible during pregnancy. Throughout your pregnancy the doctors who treat your lupus and your obstretician should be working hand in hand. You will be the one who has to make that happen.

  4. The yahoo realist

    Do you know how a lupus flare feels ?
    i think i have lupus and ive been have some sort of attacks but my doctors and family will not believe me , i have raynaud’s phenomenon but my whole finger doesn’t turn white just my nail beds, they turn a unhealthy purple and white, nasty rashes on my arms burry vision and everything numbness tingling on my body terrible headaches, pins and needles sensation , buzzing in my ear, but when i lay down its a little better but the doc said its , Original migraine symptoms what do you think?

    1. formerly_bob

      Lupus symptoms are extremely variable and they overlap dozens of other diseases, so there is no way to describe what a typical lupus flare up might be. Other than the rash, all of these symptoms look like problems caused by abnormal vascular responses, which are part of Raynaud’s disease and migraines. However, the symptoms seem atypical for either Raynaud’s disease or migraine. On the other hand, migraine is much more likely to be relieved by lying down than lupus or other similar autoimmune problems.

      Its possible that Raynaud’s disease is not the primary cause of the vascular symptoms. Given the severity of the symptoms and being more widespread than primary Raynaud’s, its possible you have some type of autoimmune problem like lupus or scleroderma.

      Lupus and scleroderma both cause a rash and Raynaud’s phenomenon. Lupus generally causes a bright red rash on the face, while scleroderma typically causes patches with odd shiny and reddish skin on legs or arms.

      it might be a good idea to get get screened for a variety of autoimmune disorders.

  5. shayeshayeshaye

    Is there anyone taking CellCept? If so, how long did you take it and what symptoms did you have?

    Hi, I was diagnosed with lupus almost 2 years ago after over 11 years of dealing with various symptoms and flares and kidney disease. Right now I am only taking 1/2 a 250 mg chloroquine tablet once a day but I still have pain and fatigue and my sed rate is going up slowly, which it does during seasonal changes. My doctor wants me to start chemo or steroids, which scares the crap out of me. I saw online that there is something called CellCept that may work to reduce lupus symptoms that may have more tolerable symptoms than chemo, but I don’t want to jump into anything. Can someone who has lupus who has or is using CellCept tell me if it works, how long it works, if you experienced any really bad side effects and if so did you recover? And did the lupus come back? Thank you for your help.

    1. mgnysgtcappo

      My wife has been taking cellcept for her Lupus for the last two and a half years with little side effects. She was a little sick to her stomach at first but now it really doesn’t affect her. It has done wonders for her Lupus flare ups though. She hasn’t had kidney involvement since being on the drug and she is only taking 5 mg of prednisone right now. She also has antiocardiolipid syndrome and takes coumadin to thin her blood. If you have any more questions or would like some more detailed info please feel free to email me

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