Doctor comforting a patient
Doctor comforting a patient
Doctor comforting a patient

Lupus Complications and Prognosis

Complications from Lupus

There are several complications related to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and its treatments you should be aware of:

  • Skin scarring

  • Joint deformities

  • Kidney failure

  • Stroke

  • Heart attack

  • Pregnancy complications

  • Hip destruction (also called avascular necrosis)

  • Cataracts

  • Bone fractures

Cardiovascular disease, not lupus itself, is the number one cause of death in people with lupus. (It is actually the number one cause of death around the world.) The number two cause of death for people with lupus is infection.

Pregnancy, Birth Control and Lupus

Pregnancy and Lupus

For most women with lupus, it’s possible to have a successful pregnancy. Talk with your rheumatologist about the risks of pregnancy and lupus, to improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and delivering a healthy baby.

Kidney lupus can flare during pregnancy. Women with lupus have an increased risk of miscarrying, and early delivery is also common.

Birth Control and Lupus

Women with lupus and antiphospholipid antibodies must avoid oral contraceptives, due to an increased risk of blood clots. In addition, some medications used to treat lupus can interfere with birth control pills. Your gynecologist and rheumatologist can help you find the right option, considering your needs.

Sjögren’s Syndrome and Lupus

As many as 10 percent of people with lupus also have Sjögren’s syndrome, a chronic autoimmune disorder characterized by dry eyes and dry mouth.

Your Thyroid and Lupus

The thyroid is the gland in your neck that controls your metabolism — the process by which your body uses energy. It’s important to note that autoimmune thyroid disease is common in people with lupus. It’s believed that about 6 percent of people with lupus have hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) and about 1 percent have hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid).

Your Lupus Support Team

Lupus may affect different parts of your life, which makes it important for you to have a rheumatologist to direct your care.

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