Everyone has hit the nail on the head, flares differ from person to person in symptoms, length and severity. Personally I know the disease is flaring up when I get severe joint pain and pleurisy. I, luckily, dont suffer from fatigue or sensitivity to sun exposure. Still haven't quite worked out exactly what sends my symptoms to flare up but I have learned (the hard way) when you do start to feel them, ignoring them and thinking you can tough it out is not a good move and mostly ends up making them way worse. most of the time I feel fine but I've been on steroids for the past 4 months to try and curb the disease activity from my last flare in March which sent me to hospital. I'll start to notice the symptoms peaking their ugly head when I start to get down to about 10mg Prednisolone. Don't feel bad for asking questions either its how everyone here has learned more about this disease and how it affects everyone.
Diagnosed with SLE and Antiphospholipid Syndrom - June 2010
Not to sound like a downer here,but I can't remember a day since April 15, 1995 when I haven't been in a flare. For me it us just varying degrees of it. At best, I can get through the day with no painkillers. I have an extremely high pain tolerance level so I just "suck it up" most of the time. At worst, I'm in a wheelchair and wishing the bathroom wasn't so blasted far away. On a scale of 1-10 with being in a wheelchair, the majority of my days tend to hover around 4- 5. Anything higher than 6 and its painkiller cocktails. Hits 10 and me and the doc spend a lot of time together. The flare levels can also vary throughout the day for me. I've woken up feeling pretty good and by noon WHAM! Same with fatigue. Fatigue for me strikes anytime, anywhere without warning or provocation. Can last a few minutes or knock me down for the rest of the day. I think of Lupus as the houseguest that refuses to leave. I've TRIED to kick it out but it JUST WON'T GO AWAY. And don't get me started on the "lovely" malar rash. Fortunately I look good in red! Just bought a lovely summer cardigan this morning in red that will compliment it nicely...
"I'm going to get healthy or die trying"
My flares are different almost all the time, some last weeks or months and some last only days.
Even though I have some time, which I call remisson, sometimes a few weeks at the time, without a flare.
But I am never painfree, the pain is just more barable, when I am not flaring.
I can't remember the last time I was pain free, but now I am happy when the pain level is 5-6, because during a flare it is 8-9.
The last time I saw my rheumy, I told him that I have had two flares since I had seen him last, he asked me what triggered the flare, I told him that I don't know, I am guessing it's stress at work, ultra violet lights at work, physical stress at work,
not to forget the fact, that I am in pain every day. So I guess, I can't pinpoint one reason, there are many.
I may have been dealt a bad hand, but at least I'm still playing with a full deck. ( most of the time anyway).
Thanks so much to all of you! You've really helped me to understand it better. Since I got sick, I've been continuously sick every day without fail (Excluding when I was testing out steroids), and it made me wonder if the flares could really be as short as a few hours long. Since most of the time I'll be sick for a few hours, then moderately okay, and then back to being sick again. I haven't been sick long enough to really see many patterns with my overall health, and not just the day to day stuff.
It's really great to be able to talk to people who know what they're talking about. Sometimes I feel like the doctors have no idea, and it's the patients I get more out of, hehe
You've had sound advice from everyone and what (Nat) said it differs from person to person.
They do last from days to months and in time you'll learn how certain things can start them and your instantley think oh god i may have a flare coming.
Like myself in the shade with the sun within 10mins causes a blister flare and when i don't have that i have an hidden flare under the skin which makes my skin itch like mad, you could actually rip your skin away but i'm under a dermo and for the flare/flares have found steriod based creams to be excellent in removing them.