Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) Health (cont.)

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Other Lupus Symptoms and Signs

  • Blood and lymph system: About half of people with lupus have anemia (low red blood cell counts), and up to half can have thrombocytopenia (low platelet counts) and leukopenia (low white blood cell counts). Low platelet counts can lead to bleeding and bruising in the skin and, if severe, can cause internal bleeding. Some lupus patients are predisposed to developing blood clots in veins (leading to phlebitis) or arteries (leading to strokes or other problems). This is most likely to occur in patients who have certain autoantibodies in their blood called antiphospholipid antibodies. Patients with these clinical problems and these antibodies may need to take blood thinners (anticoagulants) for prolonged periods of time. Women with these antibodies can also suffer from a high frequency of spontaneous miscarriages (as described above).
  • Stomach, intestines, and associated organs: Many patients with lupus develop painless ulcers in the mouth and nose at some point in their disease. Abdominal pain in lupus can be due to inflammation of the lining of the abdomen, infection of the intestines, low blood flow to the intestines caused by a clot, or inflammation of the vessels flowing to the intestines. If the person has a lot of free-floating fluid in the abdomen (ascites), this fluid may also become infected, causing severe pain.
  • Eyes: Inflammation and damage to the retina is a rare complication of lupus. Dryness of the eyes is very common in lupus patients. People with lupus often have to be screened by an ophthalmologist if they are being treated with the antimalarial drugs chloroquine (Aralen Phosphate) or hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil Sulfate).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/8/2014

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