15 Silent Symptoms of Lupus You Should Never Ignore

This autoimmune disease is tricky to diagnose because it mimics so many other illnesses. If you have more than four of any of these symptoms of lupus, it may be time to call your doctor.

You feel like you have the flu, but you're not getting better

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Fever, chills, muscle aches, and sleepiness are all classic signs of the common flu. But many people don't realize they're also some of the first symptoms of lupus as well, says Delphine Lee, MD, PhD, director of the Dirks/Dougherty Laboratory for Cancer Research and Department of Translational Immunology at John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. "The difference between the flu and lupus is that the flu gets better in four to ten days," she says, adding that these signs of lupus may last for weeks or months or come and go in cycles. Here are some other under-diagnosed conditions your doctor might miss.

You're losing weight but you're not on a diet

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Sudden overnight weight loss may sound like a dream, but with lupus, it may be one of the first signals of a nightmare. Because lupus is an autoimmune disorder, causing the body's immune system to attack itself, it can throw your thyroid and hormones out of whack which in turn affects your weight. Oddly enough, weight gain can also be one of the signs of lupus. Dr. Lee says weight loss is more common but lupus can also cause water retention which may manifest as weight gain in some people.

You have tender bumps on your neck

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Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped structures throughout your body that help fight infection and filter out harmful substances. Normally you can't see or feel them but when they're working overtime, as in the case of lupus, they can become visibly swollen and painful to touch. The most common place to feel them is along your neck, down your jaw, and behind your ears but they can also swell in your groin, abdomen, armpits, clavicle, and other places. Those looking out for the most easily spotted signs of lupus will want to check in on their lymph nodes from time to time.  Learn more about the easy diet tweak that may help treat lupus.

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