The onset of SLE can be sudden, with a high-grade fever, but it may also appear and progress over the course of days and months. Arthralgias (Joint pain) and acute polyarthritis are two major clinical manifestations in lupus patients. Almost 90% of patients present with these symptoms in any stage of their disease. Most patients would experience joint pain with no evidence of disease on radiographs as lupus does not cause destruction and erosion of the bone in the early stage of the disease. Both large and small joints can be affected symmetrically by the disease. Inflammation of the joint can cause swelling and stiffness, which is most noticeable early in the morning.
In an advanced stage of the disease, SLE can cause deformation and destruction of the bone resulting in deforming arthropathy. Serological tests and prompt medical checkup can help the doctor diagnose the condition as early as possible. Antinuclear antibodies (ANA) and anti-double-stranded (ds) DNA are major serological markers of the disease.
Fatigue is another major issue experienced by lupus patients. It might turn out to be extremely difficult for the patient to get out of the bed in the morning. Doctors believe that fatigue due to SLE is due to overactive nerve signals and imbalance in impulse transmission associated with fibromyalgia. 1/3rd of lupus patients have fibromyalgia, which is why widespread musculoskeletal pain is a common presenting complaint in lupus patients. Other causes of extreme fatigue in lupus patient are anemia, hormonal changes, and kidney dysfunction. Asking your doctor is the best way forward to get to the root of the symptoms and start a proper management of the disease. Adequate exercise and medication can drastically improve the quality of life of the patient.