Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

SLE can present with symptoms including joint pain, skin rash (usually in sun-exposed regions including the face as a butterfly-shaped rash; and on the wrists and hands), fatigue, fever, weight loss, headaches, mouth ulcers, hair loss and swelling of lymph glands and colour changes in the fingers and toes in cold conditions (Raynaud’s phenomenon).

Lupus can be associated complications arising from inflammation of the internal organs such as the heart, kidneys or brain.  Some people with lupus are more at risk of developing blood clots in veins or arteries, and this is usually caused by antiphospholipid antibodies.  Some of these autoantibodies can also affect pregnancy, causing an increased risk of miscarriage.

Lupus can occasionally be caused by drugs and medications where, in most cases, withdrawal of the offending drugs results in resolution of symptoms.