Lupus or systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE is an inflammatory and chronic disease that is that is caused due to the disorders of the immune system. When an individual is affected by lupus, it causes the immune system of the body to inadvertently attack the healthy cells and tissues of body.
A number of body systems may become inflamed due to lupus, such as the brain, the blood cells, joints, kidneys, lungs, skin and heart. The signs and symptoms are of lupus are more or less the same as other diseases or illnesses and hence its precise diagnosis is often difficult and problematic.
There are two types of rashes that result due to lupus; the discoid rash and the characteristic butterfly rash on the face.
Symptoms of lupus rash
Lupus rash may elicit signs and symptoms in ‘flares’ which is characterized by episodes of extreme and severe developments of rash and followed by periods of remission wherein there are no symptoms. The periods of extreme symptoms and remission vary as per individual cases of lupus rash. Some of the signs and symptoms of lupus rash are listed below:
• One of the major and distinctive signs of rash is the buttery rash. The rash occurs on the face and is spread across both the cheeks as well the bridge of the nose. When one looks at the rash, it gives it the appearance of the wings of a butterfly and hence the name. There is a tendency of the rash to be either purplish or reddish in color with mildly scaly appearance. The rash has distinct and sharp borders, is macular and non-itchy. On occasions, the rash may expand to cover other facial features.
• The second type of rash that is caused by Lupus is called discoid rash and is characterized by rashes on the facial skin, the skin of the neck and scalp. Unlike the buttery rash, these rashes may cause itching. In addition, they are scaly, increasing reddish as well as thick and well defined. The rashes may also result in the formation of lesions. When the rashes heal, they generally leave scars that are heavily pigmented.
A variety of other signs and symptoms may accompany both the types of lupus rash. Some of them are as follows:
• Increased disorientation, confusion and loss of memory or forgetfulness
• Excessive fatigue, weakness or tiredness
• Weight irregularities such as loss or gain in weight that is inexplicable and unintended
• Exposure to sun may result in the development of lesions or may aggravate them
• Loss of hair
• Inflammation or swelling of the joints, pain or stiffness
• Increased chest pain
• Exposure to cold environments or lengthy periods of stress may result in the fingers and toes, to turn increasingly white or blue
• Increased instances of fever
• A dryness of the eyes
• Breathing abnormalities such as shortness of breath or rapid breathing
• Sores in the mouth area or the oral cavity
• Fragile skin that bruises easily
• Increased instances of psychological irregularities or disorders like depression or anxiety
The advanced stages of lupus rash or lupus may result in the following signs or symptoms that are organ-specific-
• Severe and life-threatening damage to the kidneys that includes kidney failure and eventual death. Inflammation of kidneys due to lupus may result in swollen legs, generalized itching throughout the body, nausea, vomiting and increased chest pain
• Inflammation of the brain tissues due to lupus may result in hallucinations, loss of memory, increased headaches, cognitive defects, dizziness, changes in behavior, seizures or even strokes.
• Inflammation of the blood vessels due to lupus may result in a number of blood abnormalities such as anemia, difficulties in clotting of blood, vasculitis and easy bruising and bleeding
• Inflammation of the lung tissues or the inner linings of the chest cavity due to lupus may lead to severe difficulties in breathing as well as increased pain.
• Inflammation of the cardiac membranes, muscles as well as arteries due to lupus can lead to increased instances of cardiovascular diseases as well as cardiac failure.
• Other parts of the body may also get affected by lupus and result in complications such as death of the bones or the bone tissues, increased risk to cancer and other infections, a weakened or impaired immune system and varied difficulties during pregnancy that can lead to miscarriages
Causes of lupus rash
There are no known causes of Lupus rash. However, theories suggest that a genetic predisposition of the immune system to attack healthy cells and tissues can be triggered by the following factors:
• Certain types of drugs can lead to lupus rash. When the intake of such drugs is stopped, the symptoms gradually tend to diminish and eventually fade away
• Increased instances of exposure to sunlight
• The presence of other skin abnormalities such as Bloom Syndrome, acne rosacea, dermatomyositis, seborrheic dermatitis and pellagra can act as active triggers for the development of lupus rash
• Infection with the Epstein-Barr virus, excessive smoking or excessive exposure to chemicals such as silica and mercury can also act as triggers
• Lupus rash has a tendency to be found in individuals such as Asians, African Americans and Hispanics as well as women more than men.
Treatment of lupus rash
Some of the methods to treat lupus rash or lupus are as follows:
• Medications such as NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that can be used to treat swelling, pain and fever that accompany lupus rash
• The inflammation that is associated with the later stages of lupus rash can be treated with corticosteroids or antimalarial drugs
• Immunosuppressant medications such as methotrexate, leflunomide, azathioprine and cyclophosphamide to suppress the adverse actions of the immune system
• Use of sun block creams as well as avoidance of excessive exposure to sun can be an effective treatment and prevention of lupus rash
Lupus Rash Pictures
Check out lupus rash pictures where the rash takes the form of a butterfly on the face, legs and other parts of the body