Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) can affect almost any part of the body. As a result, SLE impacts every person differently. The most affected parts of the body are the:

  • Joints

Symptoms of joint pain and muscle aches in one or more parts of your body are also very common.

  • Skin

SLE may cause a facial rash, sometimes called a “butterfly rash.” This is a red, bumpy rash across the cheeks and bridge of the nose. Other symptoms include ulcers in the mouth or nose.

  • Kidneys

SLE can affect the kidneys. This causes a condition known as “lupus nephritis.” Lupus nephritis is often detected from laboratory tests of the blood and urine. It may not cause any symptoms early in the disease. Later on, lupus nephritis can cause swelling in the legs.

  • Brain

The effect of SLE on the brain ranges from mild to more serious. Strokes, cognitive impairment, and psychiatric problems can occur.

  • Heart and blood vessels

The heart and blood vessels are commonly affected. SLE can cause inflammation of the heart muscle or valves. It may increase your risk of having a heart attack. It can also affect the function of cells in the blood. This can raise your risk of blood clots. During pregnancy, it may increase the risk miscarriage and other complications.

  • Lungs

In the lungs, the effects of lupus can cause chest pain or shortness of breath.

SLE and health

Since SLE can affect so much of your body, you can have a wide variety of symptoms. The symptoms depend on what part of your body is affected. SLE can cause general symptoms like fatigue, fever, and weight loss. Symptoms in one or more parts of your body are very common.

Early treatment of SLE is very important. It can prevent your symptoms from getting worse. If you have SLE, it is important to visit your doctor regularly and follow your treatment plan. Let your doctor know how you feel and if you have any new symptoms or concerns.

SLE affects all parts of me.