Lupus flares: Stats and infographics based on the PatientsLikeMe community’s experiences

Posted December 18th, 2017 by

Lupus flares are hard to define. In fact, there wasn’t a clear clinical definition of flares until 2010 (and even that definition is pretty broad).

If you’re living with lupus, how would you define a flare? What do you experience during one? To gain a deeper understanding of flares from the patient perspective, the PatientsLikeMe research team partnered with Takeda Pharmaceuticals to study our online community’s discussions and data related to flares. Check out these graphics that show some of the key findings about flares among patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the most common form of lupus.

A mix of symptoms

Below are the five symptoms researchers spotted most frequently in SLE forum posts about flares. Other flare symptoms mentioned in the forum include: nausea, fever/flu, lupus fog, hair loss, migraine, back pain, blood pressure, bloody nose, insomnia, mental health effects, panic, rib pain, skin sensitivity, swollen glands, weakness, weight gain, lower GI, face tumor, hives, infection, vasculitis, and voice effects.

“I was really flaring…”

PatientsLikeMe researchers say that a flare is “a cluster of symptoms which usually includes pain and fatigue, at a minimum.” But the specifics may vary: Everyone describes their flares — and their duration — differently. Here are just a couple of the forum posts researchers highlighted.

Living with more than lupus

“…and then I had a flare of lupus, RA and Sjogren’s that still has not gone away,” one member wrote in the forum. Many members who’ve discussed their flares have also shared which other conditions they’ve been diagnosed with in addition to lupus.

If you’re living with lupus, how would you describe what happens during your flares? How long do they tend to last? Do you have other conditions that make your flares worse or hard to identify? Share your experiences here, or — even better — join PatientsLikeMe to learn from and connect with nearly 30,000 people living with lupus.

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One Comment

  1. I find out that when i am stressed or work too much (long hours), that i have flare ups.. Like joint pain (more than the usual), fatigue, migraine, blurred vision (due to migraine), sore spots on hands and feet (usually around nuckles).. I try to manage my stress or hours, but not always successful.. Family, friends and coworkers don’t seem to understand my health issues.. Sometimes making comments like ‘you always have something wrong with you’..
    Living with Lupus is kind of like some cancers, people can’t always SEE anything, so they think it’s in my head… I am 56.. Diagnosed with Lupus when i was 12..

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