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Clinical features

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

The clinical features of SLE may vary markedly from relatively mild symptoms through to life-threatening multi-organ disease (1).

Non specific features of SLE include:

  • fever
  • malaise
  • fatigue
  • weight loss
  • oral ulcers
  • myalgia and myositis - in about one third of patients
  • photosensitive skin rashes
  • lymphadenopathy - occurs in about half of cases, often in association with hepatomegaly
  • pleuritic chest pains
  • headache
  • paraesthesiae
  • symptoms of dry eyes and mouth
  • Raynaud's phenomenon (2)

In women, disease may be exacerbated by menstruation and pregnancy.

The approximate frequency of systems involvement is given below:

  • haematological 95%
  • joints 95%
  • cutaneous 80%
  • pulmonary 65%
  • nervous system 60%
  • renal 30-55%
  • gastrointestinal 20%
  • ocular 15%


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