Kidneys are the organs most commonly affected by SLE. Therefore, there is an increased risk of developing complications. Patients with SLE attacking their kidneys can develop renal failure. Renal failure is actually the leading cause of mortality in patients with SLE. It is important to be aware of associated symptoms including itching, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and leg swelling. These can be signs/symptoms associated with renal failure.
The CNS can also be affected by SLE. If the brain is affected by SLE, then symptoms may be present such as: a headache, dizziness, strokes, seizures, hallucinations and behavioral changes. Patients with SLE may have difficulty expressing what they are thinking.
The hematologic system can also be affected by SLE. Patients with SLE may have hemolytic anaemia and decreased number of platelets. The result can be difficulty with blood clotting and increased risk of bleeding. Vasculitis can also be associated with SLE.
The lungs are another organ system that can be targeted by SLE. These patients are at higher risk of acquiring pneumonia and pleurisy. If the heart is affected, then the patient can present with pericarditis and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack.
The complication can be associated with the specific organ system that is being attacked by the disruptive immune system. Therefore, it is imperative to be aware that any organ system that SLE can attack can present with complications acutely or chronically.