Lupus: Triggers and Warning Signs

Lupus is a chronic disease that occurs when the immune system attacks the body’s organs and tissues. The exact cause of lupus is unknown; however, it is believed that hormones, genetics, and environmental factors play a role.

Anyone can develop lupus, but some individuals may have a greater risk than others.  Those with a higher risk are:

  • Black people
  • Asian people
  • Hispanic people
  • People assigned female at birth
  • People with a family history of lupus

Symptoms of lupus range from mild to severe, and can include:

  • Joint pain
  • Butterfly rash
  • Mouth sores
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen glands
  • Inflammation in the brain
  • Blood clots
  • Hair loss

People living with lupus often experience periods when their symptoms worsen; this is known as a flare. Flares come and go and are often triggered by anything that causes stress to the body.  Common triggers may include:

  • Emotional stress
  • Pregnancy or giving birth
  • Infections
  • Surgery
  • Physical injuries
  • Viral illnesses
  • Severe exposure to ultraviolet rays
  • Exhaustion (being overworked or not getting enough rest)
  • Certain medications
  • Not taking lupus medications regularly

Lupus flares often have warning signs such as fever, swollen joints, fatigue, and other associated symptoms.  However, flares can also occur without symptoms. This is why individuals diagnosed with lupus must visit their doctor regularly to monitor their health.

The Lupus Center at Jamaica Hospital is staffed by highly trained rheumatologists. For more information about the Lupus Center or to make an appointment, please call (718) 206-9888.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.