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Complications of Lupus

Overview

People who have lupus may develop problems with different organs and systems of the body. These include problems with:

The blood.

There may be changes in the blood cells, anemia, and changes to organs related to circulation, such as the spleen or lymph nodes. Some people with lupus produce antibodies that attack certain blood-clotting factors, causing the blood to clot too easily. This can lead to mild or severe problems. Some of these are stroke, heart attack, deep vein thrombosis, miscarriage, and preeclampsia.

The lungs.

Inflammation of the tissues around the lungs may cause no symptoms. But sometimes it can cause painful breathing, coughing, or chest pain.

The heart.

Inflammation of the sac around the heart is the most common lupus-related heart problem. There may also be hardening of the arteries and diseases of the heart valves.

The kidneys.

People who have lupus might notice swelling of the legs and ankles. They might have abnormal lab results when their urine is tested. Some people develop serious kidney disease.

The nervous system and mental health.

Some of these problems include mild memory loss, headaches, problems with vision, muscle weakness, and loss of feeling in the feet and hands. Many people who have lupus become anxious or depressed. They might have delusions, hallucinations, or episodes of manic behavior.

Credits

Current as of: April 30, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Nancy Ann Shadick MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology