Complications of Lupus
|About complications: Complications of Lupus are secondary conditions, symptoms, or other disorders that are caused by Lupus. In many cases the distinction between symptoms of Lupus and complications of Lupus is unclear or arbitrary.|
Complications list for Lupus: The list of complications that have been mentioned in various sources for Lupus includes:
- Lupus nephritis
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Sensory neuropathy (see Tingling)
- Psychological problems
- Transverse myelitis
- Raynaud's phenomenon
- Pleuritis (inflammation of the lining of the chest cavity)
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Blood clots (see Clotting symptoms)
- Hemolytic anemia (type of Anemia)
- Pregnancy complications of lupus (see Pregnancy symptoms) - lupus pregnancies are considered high risk. Although lupus does not usually lead to any significant birth defect,
there are various risks and complications for mother and child.
- Miscarriages - about 20-25% of lupus pregnancies miscarry compared with 10-15% normally.
- Prematurity - about 25% of lupus pregnancies deliver prematurely but not usually with any birth defects.
- Neonatal lupus - a baby of a mother with lupus; rarely occurs.
- Increased risk of mother pregnancy complications (see Pregnancy symptoms)
Complications of Lupus: The following systems in the body also can be affected by lupus.
- Kidneys: Inflammation of the kidneys (nephritis) can impair their ability to get rid of waste products and other toxins from the body effectively. Because the kidneys are so important to overall health, lupus affecting the kidneys generally requires intensive drug treatment to prevent permanent damage. There is usually no pain associated with kidney involvement, although some patients may notice that their ankles swell. Most often the only indication of kidney disease is an abnormal urine or blood test.
- Lungs: Some people with lupus develop pleuritis, an inflammation of the lining of the chest cavity that causes chest pain, particularly with breathing. Patients with lupus also may get pneumonia.
- Central nervous system: In some patients, lupus affects the brain or central nervous system. This can cause headaches, dizziness, memory disturbances, vision problems, stroke, or changes in behavior.
- Blood vessels: Blood vessels may become inflamed (vasculitis), affecting the way blood circulates through the body. The inflammation may be mild and may not require treatment or may be severe and require immediate attention.
- Blood: People with lupus may develop anemia, leukopenia (a decreased number of white blood cells), or a decrease in the number of platelets (thrombocytopenia). Some people with lupus may have abnormalities that cause an increased risk for blood clots.
- Heart: In some people with lupus, inflammation can occur in the heart itself (myocarditis and endocarditis) or the membrane that surrounds it (pericarditis), causing chest pains or other symptoms. Lupus can also increase the risk of atherosclerosis.
1. excerpt from Handout on Health Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: NIAMS
Last revision: June 2, 2003
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