Hi all. I've been diagnosed with SLE for about a year now, been suffering for about 16 years (I'm 30 years old). The last two years I started to experiencing intermittent bouts of pericarditis and/or pleuresy, but the last few weeks it has gotten worse. In Jan/2012 a doctor confirmed on a chest xray that he could see some swelling around my lungs but that he hoped the NSAIDs and a weeklong bout of prednisone would kick it, so to speak. Unfortunately, its back this month and the worst I've ever felt it.

Today I am having crushing chest pain which worsens when I move or twist, take a deep breath, or attempt to pick something up. The pain is radiating down my left arm, left shoulder and left hand and hasn't subsided for about two hours now. I'd say on our very "tough" pain scale for Lupus patients, its still only a "6" in severity, but unlike knee pain or fatigue, chest pain is a more "scary" symptom that's harder to ignore, at least for me.

My question is, how many of you experience these symptoms and if so, what is the difference between "normal" pericarditis / pleuresy that should be treated with just NSAIDs and rest, and a more serious complication? How would I know without another possibly unnecessary trip to the Urgent Care clinic? Thanks for the advice on this new symptom, I'm hoping to get some frame of reference on the severity and perhaps some "home-remedy" advice.

~ Deannegirl