Originally posted by veryborednow
lupus?! what's that?
Lupus is: -
Lupus erythematosus affects women more often than men.
Erythematosus just means ‘red’ and this applies to the skin rash. There are two forms: lupus confined to the skin (discoid lupus erythematosus or DLE) and the more serious systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) that affects the body generally. Only about 1 person in 20 with DLE will go on to develop SLE. Lupus erythematosus is essentially an inflammatory disease of the body’s connective tissue.
In discoid lupus (DLE) there are red, raised, scaly, wasted bumps in the skin, usually on the face and scalp. Other sites exposed to the sun may be affected. Some people with DLE suffer from Raynaud’s phenomenon, which can cause problem with blood circulation to the fingers and toes, particularly in cold weather. If the scalp is involved there may be scarring with patches of baldness. In addition, there may be unusual chilblain-like patches.
The more serious form, SLE, also affects the joints and tendons, causing arthritis and sometimes joint deformities. About two-thirds of patients have a conspicuous, red ‘butterfly’ rash across the bridge of the nose, and about half suffer some degree of hair loss. There may be redness of the palms of the hands and small areas of bleeding under the nails. Unfortunately there can also be problems with some internal organs such as the kidney and the nervous system.
Lupus erythematosus is caused by a disturbance of the immune system so that some parts of the body cease to be recognised as ‘self’ and are attacked by the immune system.
Rarely, taking certain drugs may bring on lupus erythematosus
The condition is diagnosed by the clinical signs and by various blood tests
People with DLE must protect their skin from the sun.
DLE is treated with sunlight protection and strong steroid creams applied to the affected areas of skin. Two drugs used to prevent malaria, hydroxychloroquine and mepacrine, can be very helpful when taken by mouth . In severe cases, drugs that affect immune system function (immunosuppressive drugs) may be needed.
The joint problems caused by SLE are usually treated by specialists in rheumatology. Severe and life-threatening manifestations of SLE call for large doses of steroids. These are highly effective and often life-saving. Thereafter, patients may have to take low doses of the drug to keep the disease in control. In general, the outlook in this disease has greatly improved.