Skin Lupus Symptoms And Treatment

Skin Lupus Symptoms And Treatment

Lupus is a health condition that arises when the immune system is under threat.  The weakening of the immune system can lead to a whole plethora of problems of cells and tissues, which are collectively called lupus.  The damages caused can extend to the skin, joints, kidneys, blood vessels, brain, heart, and lungs.  Among the many types of lupus, the most prevalent is the Lupus erythematosus, which affects several parts of the body including the skin.

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Causes for skin lupus

The rashes caused in skin lupus may range from very time to mild and may occur on several parts of the body
A combination of factors and health issues leads to the problem.   One of them is the mis-directional attack of the immune system on the body’s own defense mechanisms, leading to damage of cells and tissues
Environmental factors like prevalence or spread of viral infections and stress can lead to lupus
The human leukocyte antigen genes (HLA) a group of genes that play a vital role in the functioning of the immune system tend to be affected by lupus – some people are genetically predisposed to be more vulnerable to the onslaught of lupus on the HLA group of genes.

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There are several symptoms that characterize lupus.  A person may have some or all of them.  The symptoms may disappear after some time and new ones may become evident.  The skin problems in lupus are different in different people.  Some of them are 

  • The butterfly rash – a red-colored rash starting from one cheek, covering the nose, and reaching the other cheek.  A person with the butterfly rash may have problems in other parts of the body due to lupus (systemic lupus)
  • Subacute cutaneous lupus occurs when the rashes are restricted to areas of the skin exposed to the sun.  It is sometimes accompanied by blood disorders and joint pain.
  • Discoid lupus occurs when lupus is confined to the skin. The symptoms are thickened, ruddy, scaly patches on the skin that leave scars after healing
  • When discoid lupus affects the scalp, there is hair fall and hair loss, including permanent baldness
  • Panniculitis occurs when the fat below the skin is inflamed. It is characterized by red lumpy rashes
  • When the blood vessels underneath the skin become swollen then the lupus rash appears as red spots that cause a lot of discomforts.  This rash is called vasculitis.  Vasculitis, if it appears on other parts of the body (like the kidney) can become a serious health concern
  • If the blood circulation is affected the condition is symbolized by the skin taking on a mottled look

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Other symptoms of systemic lupus include 

  • Possibility of ulcers in the mouth
  • Unexplained fever
  • Unexplained exhaustion
  • Sudden hair loss
  • Inflammation and pain in the joints and muscles
  • Inflammation of limbs and eyes
  • Possibility of swelling of glands
  • Photosensitivity (vulnerable to UV rays)
  • Discolored toes and fingers
  • Breathing accompanied by chest pain

While these are the general symptoms that characterize the occurrence of lupus there are some uncommon symptoms that also indicate its presence.  They are 

  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Depression
  • Possibility of seizure
  • Headache
  • Anemic tendency

Sometimes there is a sudden increase in the intensity of symptoms.  This reaction is called flares.  The specific reason for this is not known.  However, the onset of flares is sometimes recognized by increased exhaustion and persistent sweating.

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Because of the wide range of symptoms, diagnosing lupus is a challenging task.  The doctors use several techniques and instruments to diagnose the disorder, sometimes taking months for the same.  Diagnostic procedures include blood and urine tests, biopsy of the skin, a biopsy of the kidney, and medical history perusal and analysis followed by complete medical examination


As the symptoms are numerous the treatment too may need the efforts of several medical specialists. Specialists involved in the treatment of skin lupus would include the consulting doctor for the family, immunologists, dermatologists, neurologists, endocrinologists, cardiologists, and so on.

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Treatment would aim at preventing flares and reducing the symptoms in general.  It includes 

  • Getting rid of the symptoms
  • Facilitating physical and emotional exercise, rest, and relaxation
  • Improved and appropriate nutrition plans
  • Prescribed medication to help reduce flares and improve the immune system
  • Preventing exposure to sunlight

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