can somebody explain "flares"

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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 206
   Posted 9/9/2007 1:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi.  From what I gather, everyone's flares are different.  I'm confused.  When I go see my rhuemy he always talks about my flares, but from what I read on this site some people have flares to the extreme.  Mine mainly consist of joint pain and swollen joints.  Sometimes redness and a hot spot.  I do sometimes feel really fatigued while this is going on.  Maybe some of you can help me define other parts of my flares that I should be aware of by sharing what you deal with during a flare.  I'm thinking I've in a flare since about March and I'm pretty tired of it, but I will see my rhuemy in a few weeks and if I can pinpoint more symptoms of my flares, maybe he can prescribe something that will work better for me.  I had been on Piraxicam and now am on Nebutmetone, neither of which are helping.  I'd appreciate the imput.  Thanks!
"Challenges make you discover things about yourself you never really knew."

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2004
Total Posts : 8198
   Posted 9/9/2007 2:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Tammie,
   Your right, we all differ in flares. Some can be very mild to severe. I think the most common symptoms of any flare would be pain(muscle or joint), fatigue(weakness), nausea, and fevers. More or less, flu-like symptoms.
   Write down all your symptoms for your doctor to see. There maybe something there that would stand out to him that you think wouldn't.
   I wish this disease was more simple but, it has so many symtoms and mimics so many other diseases. We never know from one day to the next how it will effect us.
  Please take care and keep us updated. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
 Lupus,RLS,RA,Asthma,Fibro,Sjogren's,Raynaud's,Divertic, Stroke,Atherosclerosis,Seizures,Sensory Polyneuropathy
mirapex,advair,foxamax,donnatal,folic acid.
JOB 5:18 For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 610
   Posted 9/9/2007 4:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Babs said all. Everyone is different and the degree of flares are different. When u are in constant pains, fatigue, fevers, etc, you know you are flaring.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 8616
   Posted 9/9/2007 7:42 PM (GMT -6)   

Babs is right. Some here really do have some extreme problems and issues. My flares consist of malar rash, joint and connective tissue pain, extreme sun sensitivity, rashes, a new one is an inflammatory attack on my large intestines, mouth sores, waking every hour or so when I do get to sleep, arms and hands fall asleep (pins and needles), and, for me, fatigue is the worst because it stops me from doing the things I love to do. My pain has actually moved around and is gone from my hands and arms.

In His Grip!,
AlwaysRosie          "We can't control the waves, but we can learn to surf!"
Psalms 139
Co-Moderator ~ Lupus Forum
UCTD (Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease), Hashimoto's, Irratable Bowel, Inflammatory Arthritis
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Post Edited (AlwaysRosie) : 9/10/2007 1:25:09 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2003
Total Posts : 262
   Posted 9/9/2007 9:13 PM (GMT -6)   
my flares use to start with the butterfly rash on my cheeks and would spread until it covered my cheeks and nose, but with the transplant my docs said that i would have no outward signs anymore, cuz when i had a flare in march i only knew about it cuz of the bloodwork, my creatinine started rising and they did a kidney biopsy and they found lupus in the new kidney and changed my meds around to fight the flare but i didnt have the butterfly rash anymore but i did feel the fatigue but not really any joint pain, but my flares have always been different each time i had them the only common factor was the butterfly rash.
Hugs and prayers,            God grant me the serenity to accept the
   ~Suzanne~                 things I cannot change, the courage to    
                                    change the things I can, and the wisdom
                                    to know the difference.
diagnosed in May '95 with lupus nephritis, hypertension, hypothyroidism, avascular necrosis (knee) '98, kidney transplant April '06, pseudo-cerebral tumor '07, AVN of R ankle '07
prednisone, cellcept, prograf, lopressor, allopurinol, synthroid, diamox, OsCal +D, lunesta, celexa, percocet for pain

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2608
   Posted 9/10/2007 9:24 AM (GMT -6)   
This is a good question, and as you say, it's different for everyone. You've gotten some good answers. Since I'm flaring right now, I'm keeping my posts to a minimum as I need to get some rest, but want you to know I hope you get the answers you are looking for and that you get out of this flare you've been in since March. Take care.
Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjogren's, osteoarthritis, fibro, ibs, renauds, restless leg, hiatal hernia, double vision, migraines.
cellcept, neurontin, prednisone, plaquenil, synthroid, triamterene, tramadol, actonel, tri-est, imitrex, cymbalta, multivitamin, calcium w vit D, fish oil, aspirin

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 39
   Posted 9/10/2007 1:14 PM (GMT -6)   
I actually asked my rheumy about this at my last visit. I had two flares so far, and they started off the same (with joint pains). I pretty much assumed that for me joint pains were the signs of a flare. With the flare I'm having right now, it turns out that it's affecting my kidneys. The thing is, the symptoms went on for a while before I decided to visit the doctor because there was no joint pain, in fact there was no pain at all. So I asked him about it. Why is it that I had no joint pains this time?

His explanation was that lupus got active despite still taking medication. I was on plaquenil. The truth is, I had missed a couple weeks and he said originally thats why I was getting a flare. I knew it was irresponsible to miss them, but it didn't make sense. My old rheumy told me that you have to miss about three months of plaquenil for it have an effect on you. Mind you, I wasn't going to let it get that far. But anyway, he claimed that because I was taking plaquenil that masked the joint pains, and perhaps the other symptoms. This is worrying, I think. Here's something that hides the symptoms while the lupus is secretly waging war on your kidneys without you knowing. If I had joint pains I would have gone to the doctor earlier and probably wouldn't be in this mess now!

Anyway, he also said that lupus is different with different people and different times and maybe I also just didn't get any joint pains this time. The funny thing is, after I was in the hospital and got my fist IV dose of prednisone, the lupus rash appeared on my face!

Anyway, sorry for the essay (I get carried away). I suppose anything out of the ordinary you should tell your doctor. Joint pains, rashes, headaches are usually common. Another sign for me was anemia; I would bruise really easily. What really determines a flare, I think, is the results of a blood test.

Hope everything goes well with the doctor. Feel better and take care!

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 236
   Posted 9/10/2007 2:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Tammy - Sorry to hear you are flaring. I haven't been here for a couple of days and just read earlier posts. Mine started off originally with symptoms of meningitis with swollen glands, then it went to flu symptoms with arthralgia, now it has changed again this year with bone pain added and last time with a light red rash throughout the body. I always turn "white" like a sheet and a week after the flare I get inflammation of an organ, pneumonia, etc. (whatever area it decides to hit at that time). It seems like everytime the disease progressed the flares changed.

Typically, I don't believe lupus progresses. Some people have it mild, some moderate, some severe. No one seems to know which course the disease will take. It is hard to remember that although one person has it severe, you may or may not ever have the same severity or the same problems. The common theme is that it hits more than several areas but which ones we may not know until after it has taken place. This is a lot of what ifs to deal with. Best thing I can do is to just deal with each day and each problem one at a time, while keeping in the back of my mind that I have a connective tissue disease and to be alert to new symptoms. Hard enough just dealing with what is on my plate than adding to it. Not to say you do this, but I did and I think it is common to do so. Even now, I still have a tendency to worry about tomorrow. I wish there was a rule book and/or a list of how things will go for the next ?? years, but unfortunately there isn't a book or list. All we ever have is today.

Learn your routine when you flare. I finally just figured out what a flare is and what I do each time. Finally, clicked in my head after going through this for 20 years (the last 10 years was more severe). I also just found out that I have also been going through this since high school but it was very mild for a long time until after I had my first child and all these crazy things started happening to my body.

It is nice to meet you and I hope despite your flare you get to enjoy today. Take care - Kristin
  Dx:  Lupus CNS 11/2005; Current - Mitral valve sclerosis, MVP/regurg, dementia; GERD; vision loss, narcolepsy, RA, IBS, ovarian cysts, raynauds, EBV/CFS, inflam. liver/spleen. Rx:  Atenolol, Aricept, Flexeril, Motrin  Previous-rashes, hemi-pelagic migraine, sensory loss, amnesia, PTSD/Dep., host of neuro problems, pregnancy compl., False pos. syphilis, fine speck & homogen ANA; IgM; staph/strept infections, colonitis, pancreaitis, gastritis, costochondritis, pericarditis, Hashimoto's, dyspnea, hyper/hypotension, lipedemia, ulcers, pneumonia, anemia, Scleroderma symptoms, vein swelling, etc.  

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 261
   Posted 9/10/2007 10:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Tammy. As you can probably tell from the replies you've received already, each person experiences things differently. My local support group just had a meeting yesterday and it was a discussion about lupus symptoms. I'll give you a quick list of things I've experienced: chest pain/heart attack feeling, pleural effusion (I have lung involvement), stabbing pains in back, trouble breathing, joint pains, swelling, butterfly and asstd. rashes, fatigue, painfully dry skin on my hands that crack & bleed (this may be from Sjogren's), brain fog (memory/clear thinking hampered at times), bad allergic reactions to irritants like certain chemicals or cleaners, cigarette smoke, etc, nose/throat sinus problems, nose ulcers, mouth ulcers, fever, chills, sweating, brusing, hair loss, and blood sugar spiking. The last part of this list may well be side effects from prednisone, I just listed everything. Hope this helps. Unfortunately, there could still be much more! You might try doing a search for lupus symptoms. Take care and good luck,
Always looking for the silver lining, Sharen

SLE '06, Sjogren's '06, Traumatic Head Injury '94
Prednisone 10mg and tapering, Caltrate 1200mg, Multi-vitamin, Prevacid 30 mg, Actonel 35mg

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 250
   Posted 9/11/2007 3:49 AM (GMT -6)   
This may seem like a silly question ... but what is the difference between flaring and just experiencing the everyday effects of lupus? For example ... I get the butterfly rash a lot. My joints get stiff as the day progresses. The other day I got really tired. My doctor says my bloodwork is great. Does lupus cause the fatigue or does flaring? Do the drugs cause the fatigue? I've tried listening to my body and when it's tired, overworked, etc. I rest it (whether that means taking a day off, sleeping, etc.) Bloodwork wise, I haven't had a flare in two years but I get symptoms of a flare that come and go.
Take care,
Diagnosed with lupus in May 2005
Daily Medications:
Prednisone, 5 mg
Imuran, 50mg 2x a day
Warfarin, 5 mg / day
Zoloft, 100 mg / day
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Nexium, 20 mg / day
Tramadol, 50 mg 2x a day (as needed) and Tylenol
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2000 IU of Vitamin D
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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 39
   Posted 9/11/2007 7:24 AM (GMT -6)   
Thats a good question peachy. When I wasn't in a flare, I would get joint pains and fatigue every once in a while. It would depend on the weather and what exposure I had. With some rest and a change in the weather, it would go away. So, I suppose you can't tell initially, but wait to see how long it lasts.

I think it's great you haven't had a flare in two years, keep it going!
Diagnosed SLE 2002, Raynaud's and Hives 2004, Lupus Nephritis 2007
cellcept, prednisone, plaquenil, zrytec, cozaar, nexium, furosemide, oscal + d

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