Lupus rash is a type of autoimmune disorder in which the body’s own immune system will attack and destroy tissues and organs. Inflammation of the skin occurs in many parts of the body affecting every joint. Lupus rash is characterized by the presence of distinctive rashes on the face resembling a butterfly. The shape of the rash may be similar to that of the wings of the butterfly and is present on both the cheeks.
Most of the cases diagnosed with lupus will not have any major problem except for minor discomfort. In rare cases, lupus can affect vital organs significantly causing lifelong disability. It can impair the functions of kidneys, brain and even the heart making life more serious. There is no specific treatment for lupus rash but the symptoms can be managed by effective medications.
Two kinds of lupus rash are being recognized :
One is discoid lupus DLE and it affects the skin that is overly exposed to powerful ultra violet rays of the sun. It causes skin lesions and leaves scars on the surface of the skin after it has healed completely.
Second type of lupus is systemic lupus erythematosus which is very serious. It can affect the functions of internal organs and it produces the distinctive symptom of butterfly shaped rashes on the cheeks. The connective tissues of the various joints and muscles are badly damaged and in some cases it can also affect the membranes of the lungs and heart and even the brain. It will not spare blood vessels also. This type can cause painful lesions on the skin more on the fingers. The normal blood flow to the extremities can get seriously affected causing numbness on the toes and fingers.
An individual affected with lupus rash may not have the same signs like that of other person. The symptoms may flare on certain periods and remission follows immediately. The intensity of the symptom can vary certainly on the extent of weakened immunity and also on the part of the body which has been affected.
Some of the common signs of lupus rash are fever, joint pain, stiffness on the joints, butterfly shaped rashes on the cheeks, lesions on the skin, pain on the fingers and toes (more during winter time) and fatigue. They become extremely sensitive to sunlight and can cause unexplained weight loss. It can cause chest pain, painful sores on the mouth and throat and enlargement of lymph nodes on the throat and mouth. Some people may get severe headache, loss of memory and confusion of thoughts if the brain tissues are affected by lupus.
Exact cause of lupus remains a mystery. It is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system will attack its own tissues and muscles. It can be due to hormone imbalance, genetic factor and also due to environmental factor. An individual with a history of lupus rash from his parents is predisposed for inheriting this disorder.
A person who is overly exposed to sunlight can develop lupus rash. Similarly a person who is consuming neurological medications for managing seizure can also get lupus. Lupus affects more number of women than men for reasons unknown. People who are in the age group of 15-40 years have increased risk for developing lupus. This disease is common in certain race like Hispanics, African American and Asians.
In severe cases, lupus can infect the kidneys leading to renal failure. In some cases, the tissues surrounding the brain are affected causing various brain related problems. Lung inflammation is common among people who have lupus rash for long period. Having lupus rash for long time puts you under high risk for getting various infectious diseases and even cancer. Pregnant women suffering from lupus can develop complications of preterm birth.
It is difficult to diagnose lupus rash since the symptoms are vague and similar to other diseases. After considering the symptoms of the patient, the doctor may order for complete blood test for measuring the RBC, WBC and platelets. It is useful for find the erythrocyte sedimentation rate.
He would also check whether the kidney and liver functions are normal to ensure that lupus has not affected any vital organ. Increased level of protein in urine indicates lupus has affected kidneys. Your doctor may also ask for imaging tests like X-ray of the chest to rule out lung inflammation and for Echo to assess the function of the heart.
The mode of treatment is not the same for all people affected with lupus rash. Your doctor will decide the course of treatment depending on the intensity of the symptoms and your health condition. Anti-inflammatory medications (non-steroid) like Ibuprofen or naproxen is prescribed for getting relief from pain and fever. Hydroxychloroquine is also a good medicine for controlling lupus.
For more severe cases, corticosteroids are prescribed but this would produce some undesirable effects if continued for long term. Since the disease is caused by weakened immunity immunosuppressant like cytoxan, imuran and arava are prescribed.
Pictures of Lupus Rash :
Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Lupus Rash
Lifestyle Changes :
Lupus rash is not a simple disease that can be managed overnight. It takes enough time for the medications to control the symptoms. Flaring and remissions are common with lupus and hence one has to bear with it. Get enough rest as and when you require it since you may become extremely tired due to weakened immunity. Avoid going out in hot sun since it can worsen your skin condition. Eat a well balanced diet and do regular exercises to get enough strength to fight the disease.
Some people are using alternative medicine like flaxseed, fish-oil and dehydro-epiandro-sterone for managing flare-ups. It may be a shock to know that you have lupus, but try to understand that you are not alone. Know more information about the disease and identify the period of remissions and flare-ups. Find a support group and stay connected with them.