Lupus Rash


Last Updated July 12th, 2019

How does lupus affect our body?

A systemic autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system starts attacking its own tissues and organs is called lupus.  Due to this behavior of the immune system various parts of the body is affected such as the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, heart, and lungs.  A rash resembling a butterfly appears on the face indicating early signs of lupus.

It should be noted that signs and symptoms associated with lupus vary from person to person.  It is not necessary that all who are affected by lupus have the same types of symptoms.  In the majority of the cases, the symptoms occur only when there is a flare-up.  A butterfly rash occurring on the face occurs on the majority of the cases, but not necessarily in all the cases.  It should be noted that there is no cure for lupus other than keeping the symptoms under check and not letting them to flare-up frequently.

Types of lupus

Lupus has been broadly divided into three main categories.  These include discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and finally drug-induced lupus (DILE).

Discoid lupus erythematosus

This condition generally affects the skin and is triggered by exposure to sunlight.  It does not involve the glands or the organs and is considered a milder form of lupus.

Systemic lupus erythematosus

This is by far the most severe form of lupus and affects the entire body including the organs, glands, etc.

Drug-induced lupus

This condition is caused due to the side effect of long-term use of certain medications.  They are similar to systemic lupus erythematosus as they affect the entire body.  A certain group of medications have been identified to cause this problem and include beta blockers, anti-seizure medications, proton pump inhibitors, as well as sulfonamides.

How is lupus caused?

As discussed earlier, it is a disease where the immune system attacks the body.  Studies have indicated that this generally occurs due to the combination of genetics and the environment.  Since there is no clear understanding as to what caused this to occur, it has been estimated that people who have inherited the disease come in contact with an external source such as environment which triggers this reaction.  Some of the common triggers are discussed below and these include:

Exposure to sunlight

People tend to get a facial rash resembling a butterfly on their face due to sunlight exposure.  This is considered as the internal response of the immune system when the skin was exposed to sunlight.

Viral and bacterial infections

Studies have indicated that a viral or bacterial infection can initiate lupus in the body.

Side effects of medications

It has been found that certain group of medications such as anti-seizure medications, blood pressure medications, antibiotics, etc can cause drug-induced lupus and the symptoms would generally dissipate as the medication is discontinued.

Overview of signs and symptoms of lupus

There seems to be no particular pattern in the occurrence of symptoms.  The symptoms associated with lupus may occur suddenly or slowly.  It may be mild in certain cases and severe in other cases.  Certain symptoms occur temporarily and others may be permanent.  People who are diagnosed with lupus have a persistent mild disease with sudden flare-ups and this is when the signs and symptoms become prominent.

Most importantly signs and symptoms occur depending on which part of the body is affected.  Both the sexes experience the same type of symptoms but it is the women who tend to experience this condition quite commonly.  Signs and symptoms are experienced in the form of flare-ups and remissions.  Some of the commonly experienced signs and symptoms include:

Fatigue and tiredness

According to research from Johns Hopkins Lupus Center, it has been estimated that around 90% of patients affected with lupus experience fatigue and tiredness.  It can affect the normal lifestyle by making it difficult to carry out day to day work, exercise, or even go shopping.  A few people prefer taking a mid-day nap to combat this problem but it is not possible for everybody to afford this comfort.  Doctors, on the other hand, would suggest you to be much more active to combat this situation of fatigue and tiredness.

Persistent fever

A persistent fever between 99 and 101 degrees Fahrenheit is considered as one of the earliest signs of lupus.  It is also an indication that there are persistent infection and inflammation in the body which is causing the recurrent fever.  People diagnosed with lupus consider this as an indication that a lupus flare is on its way sooner or later.

Redness and inflammation of muscles/joints

Muscle tend to become sore and the joints become stiff due to swelling.  This is generally associated with pain and makes ambulation highly impossible due to these symptoms.

Lack of blood circulation:  Your fingers or toes could turn blue due to the lack of blood supply to these parts of the body.  This is called Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Butterfly rashes

A person affected by lupus may experience this highly noticeable symptom where facial rash would appear resembling a butterfly.  If the flare-up is severe, it can develop into hives and photosensitivity.  Few patients may also experience discoid lesions on the skin which is about the size of a coin.

Photosensitivity

Sunburn, skin lesions, and skin itchiness become a common phenomenon for patients suffering from lupus.

Breathing difficulty and heart symptoms

Shortness of breath and chest pain could be caused due to the persistent inflammation of the blood vessels and diaphragm.

Anemia

This is considered the main cause of fatigue due to the rapid reduction in red blood cells or the blood volume.

Fluid retention

This can be experienced with symptoms of puffing of face and around the eyes.  It can also be experienced in the form of ankle swelling.

Sjogren’s syndrome

Fluid production in the glands can be affected and there would be a reduction in the amount of saliva and tear production.  This is called the Sjogren’s syndrome and can even lead to ulcers in the mouth and around the nose.

Issues with digestion

Indigestion and loss of appetite are some of the symptoms associated with the gastrointestinal tract.  If the patient is also affected by stress, the symptoms tend to exacerbate and cause further problems.  This is generally associated with systemic lupus erythematosus.  Corticosteroids are generally prescribed for this condition, but this may cause weight gain and increase blood sugar levels.

Insomnia

Fatigue can lead to daytime sleeping and this may impact with sleep pattern at night and lead to insomnia.

Hair fall

Alopecia may occur where chunks of hair fall out causing a bald patch on the scalp due to irritation and scalp inflammation.  The symptoms can be so severe that even bodily hair could fall out such as eyebrows and eyelashes.

Loss of libido

This is caused mainly due to multiple symptoms caused by lupus such as fatigue, hormonal changes, dryness in the vagina, as well as irregular periods.

Headaches

This is quite a common symptom of lupus and occurs in the majority of cases.  Again, headache is caused due to the combination of various factors associated with lupus.

Mood Changes

Confusion, memory loss, and agitation are some of the symptoms that can impact a person affected by lupus.  Depression is a common symptom that is generally associated with lupus.

What are the complications of lupus?

The majority of complications caused by lupus are due to the inflammation it causes in the body.  This inflammation can affect several organs and these include:

  • Kidneys – Kidney failure may occur due to inflammation. If the underlying cause is not treated, it may even lead to death.
  • Central nervous system – As discussed earlier, symptoms such as headache, mood changes, seizures, agitation, and depression may occur.
  • Blood-related problems – Blood clots and reduction in red blood cells are some of the complications associated with lupus. Vasculitis which is the inflammation of the blood vessels can occur due to lupus.
  • Lungs – Inflammation of the chest called pleurisy as well as bleeding into the lungs are some of the complications related to the lungs.
  • Heart – As discussed earlier, blood clots due to inflammation can block the arteries and cause heart attacks.
  • Infection – Due to the multiple complications associated with lupus, the immune system of the body is weakened and the body becomes more vulnerable to infections.
  • Avascular necrosis – Reduction in the amount of blood supply to the bones may occur which can lead to hairline fractures and eventually collapse of the bone.
  • Miscarriage – Due to an increase in blood pressure during pregnancy, there is a higher chance of preterm birth as well as miscarriage.

How is it diagnosed?

Since it is an autoimmune disease, it is quite difficult to diagnose lupus since a particular test alone cannot determine it.  A combination of multiple tests including urine test, blood test, as well as physical examination is required to diagnose the problem.

Laboratory tests

  • Complete blood count – This is generally ordered to find if the patient is suffering from anemia or an overall reduction in the blood volume level. Both these conditions are related to lupus.
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate – High sedimentation rate indicates the presence of infection, inflammation, cancer, or lupus.
  • Urinalysis – High levels of red blood cells and protein in the urine can indicate malfunctioning kidneys associated with lupus.
  • Antinuclear antibody test – A stimulated immune system indicates the presence of antinuclear antibodies which occurs during a lupus flare-up.

Imaging tests

If any of the above laboratory tests indicate lupus further imaging tests are ordered to confirm the diagnosis and these include:

  • Chest x-ray – Presence of fluid and inflammation in the lungs and surrounding tissues may indicate damage to the lungs.
  • Echocardiogram – Problems related to the heart can be assessed with the help of ECG which produces real-time images of the heartbeat.

Biopsy

Damage to the kidney due to lupus needs to be assessed with the help of a biopsy.  Similarly, a skin biopsy is obtained to confirm the diagnosis of lupus.

Conventional treatments

Treatment for lupus mainly concentrates on identifying the underlying cause and limiting the flare-ups.  In some cases, a decision is taken if the symptom needs to be treated or not depending on the severity and prognosis.  Dosage of medications would be varied as the flare-ups increase and decrease.  Some of the most common treatments include:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Over-the-counter medications to reduce pain and swelling such as NSAIDs are prescribed.  Due to the side effects associated with these medications, the prescription is limited for a certain period of time.

Anti-malarial drugs

Lupus flares can be limited to the use of anti-malarial drugs.  Damage to the retina and stomach upsets are some of the side effects of these medications and hence close monitoring is required.

Corticosteroids

Inflammation related to lupus can be limited to the use of corticosteroids, but these drugs can result in weight gain and high blood sugar levels.

Immunosuppressants

These drugs suppress the immune system and are used to treat severe flare-ups of lupus.

Facts

  • Around five million people are affected by lupus worldwide.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus accounts for 70% of lupus cases.

Facts

  • Around 20% of patients acquire it from their ancestors.
  • Lupus affects women 6 to 10 times more than men.

Facts

  • Majority of lupus cases are in the age group of 15 and 40

Related Conditions

Want to live a healthy lifestyle?

Subscribe to free FactDr newsletters.

REVAMP YOUR

If you're enjoying our website, we promise you'll absolutely love our new posts. Be the first one to get a copy!

Get factually correct, actionable tips delivered straight to your inbox once a week.

I want the latest scoop on :

We hate spam too. We will never share your email address with anyone. If you change your mind later, you can unsubscribe with just one click

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the FactDr Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of FactDr subscriptions at any time.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Seek immediate medical treatment.
  • Have regular medical checkups.
  • Avoid sunlight exposure.
  • Take medications regularly.
Don'ts
  • Delay medical treatment.
  • Expose skin to excess sunlight.
  • Stop medications prematurely.
  • Self medicate.

 

 

 

Related Conditions

Trending Topics

anal sex
Anal Sex : Tips from experts on how to be kinky yet safe Whether it irks you or stokes your fantasies, anal sex has always been an intriguing sexual act. Learn…
diverticulitis diet
Diverticulitis diet: The right way to eat if you suffer from the disease Are you suffering from diverticultis but clueless about your diet ? Read this complete plan for diverticulitis diet…
Penis pump: Pump your way out of erectile dysfunction One of the options to treat erectile dysfunction is by the use of a penis pump. It is…
passion fruit juice
Passion fruit: How one exotic fruit can help you fight infections and cancer! Passion fruit: Why does this exotic fruit have such an enticing name? And how can it protect you…
Maltitol: Things you must know about this artificial sweetener Sugar alcohols are produced by fruits and vegetables. Maltitol is an artificially produced sugar alcohol and is used…
Top natural diuretics: The instant benefits you can get from nature’s water pills Since diuretic drugs are known to cause side effects, it is better to choose a natural diuretic that…
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
TBHQ: A carcinogen lingering in your child’s favorite snacks TBHQ - Why you should shun the practice of eating instant noodles or microwave popcorn to get rid…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
yoga health benefits
How to practice yoga for astounding health benefits Can a 5000-year-old system be the ultimate body healer? Did you know yoga can make you smarter and…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
occupational hazards types
Occupational Hazards: How to vouch for your health at your workplace Occupational hazards affect millions worldwide. Chemical spills, faulty wires, deadly pathogen, and work-stress can happen anytime. Follow these…
How can Kegels help you overcome weak pelvic muscles & incontinence? Kegel exercises are pelvic floor strengthening exercises that can help you overcome incontinence issues that rise out of…
Erythritol: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another marketing ploy? Erythritol is a popular choice of a healthy alternative sweetening agent in foods. But how healthy can a…
Benefits of exercise: Top reasons why you should be sweating it out more in the gym Are you leading a sedentary life and still not motivated enough to get up from your couch and…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Melatonin: Fascinating facts on the hormone that brings you the Zzzs Did you know, melatonin - the chemical that puts you to sleep every night is also involved in…
Latest findings on Kombucha; a teacup full of yeast and bacteria How can a tea consisting of a live culture of bacteria & fungi be healthy? With Kombucha, you…
Coconut oil woman
Coconut Oil: How one oil dominates the kitchen and the medicine kit too Coconut oil has been a favorite in many Asian kitchens. But more than a cooking oil, coconut oil…
The science behind daith piercing: Can it really cure migraine? Since the ear has several pressure points, it is believed that daith piercing activates the vagus nerve and…
SIBO Diet: The important dos and don’ts of this gut-healing diet A SIBO diet is a diet that works by eliminating certain sugars from your diet and adding fibers…
TRX: Why is this total resistance workout the best choice for your body? TRX or total resistance exercise is a form of exercise where suspension belts are used to produce that…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
about mediterranean diet
Why you should be adopting a Mediterranean style of diet today Ever wondered why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy? One simple solution to lowering risk of several deadliest…
lifestyle diseases
The Big 5 lifestyle diseases: How your everyday living might be killing you You'd be shocked to know how unhealthy and potentially fatal your everyday routine could be. Has the modern…
eating myths debunked
8 ‘healthy eating’ myths you believed until now Is a zero-carb diet really healthy for you? Are organic products worth their cost? Did you know how…
paleo keto diet
Paleo vs. Keto: Which diet plan is best suited for your body goals? Is eating like a caveman the right way to go? Can you really eat fats to burn fats…
Improve sex life
9 best tips from around the world for better sex life How can the pungent-smelling garlic pack in a punch to your libido? How could something as slimy as…
Salt dangers
Sodium chloride: The wonders and dangers of the simple table salt Sodium chloride is a salt containing sodium and chlorine ions at a 1:1 ratio. It is edible and…
Lectin: The common link of proteins between peas and people Lectins are a type of protein that are found majorly in legumes. Most people are find it easy…
The real reason why you shouldn’t be eating ramen noodles Instant ramen noodles might be your go-to snack for your hunger pangs. But with each spoonful you are…
Hemp Seeds: The actual science behind this controversial crop Inspite of being credited as a superfood, hemp seeds are still shrouded with layers of controversies. Are these…
PiYo (Pilates + Yoga): Bringing you the best of both the worlds PiYo exercise routine was formulated for people who find it tedious and grueling exercise regimens such as extensive…
Dragon Fruit – Blessing from Nature’s Basket The dragon fruit is packed with nutrients and yet low on calories and is the dream food that…
Creatine: Is this the right peak athletic-performance supplement for you? Creatine is the amino acid that boosts our energy. Did you know creatine supplements can help you reach…
erectile dysfunction treatment
Erectile Dysfunction: Effective tips to help you get back on charge Erectile dysfunction is a common male sexual dysfunction. Don't stress out. Just follow these amazing tips to get…
Vitamin B12: The unknown repercussions of this nutrient deficiency Vitamin B12 is also known as cobalamine; involved in the development of red blood cells in the bone marrow.…
Lauric Acid: 8 health benefits you can derive from coconuts Appropriate use of saturated fats containing lauric acid can provide you numerous health benefits. This is the main…
Cranberry: Top reasons why you should grow this “superfruit” in your own backyard Cranberry is a favorite among foodies and health enthusiasts alike. Read more on how it can benefit your…
cancer facts
8 hard-hitting truths no one tells you about cancer Did you know that 1.5 million new cases of cancer are reported every year? Can second-hand smoking kill…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
acne removal tips
Anatomy of acne: 7 instant steps to kiss those zits goodbye Blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples-call them what you may. Acne is never good news.Did you know some of the…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
Milk Thistle skin
Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes with a plethora…
low fodmap plan
Troubled with IBS? Here’s a complete roadmap to the low FODMAP diet Leaky & inflammatory gut troubling you? No medicine bringing you relief from the pain? Why not try the…
Jackfruit: Slice your way into higher immunity, better digestion, & more… Native to the South East Asia, the jackfruit is a fruit brimming with thousands of health benefits. Discover…
waterchestnut
Water Chestnuts: The tastiest ways to include this healthy tuber in your diet Water chestnut is not a nut after all. It is a tuber (much like the potatoes) growing close…
Female Masturbation: Tips on how to turn up the heat during a solo mission As a female, do you find yourself constantly wondering as to what is the best way to please…
Burpees: World’s most challenging fitness routine now made simple for you The majority of the fitness regimens mainly concentrate on a particular muscle group whereas Burpees is s whole…
Aromatherapy: Can this sense-stimulating therapy help you? Aromatherapy is a holistic treatment method with several benefits, and not just for humans but pets as well.…
Surgery or home-remedy; what is the right way to treat a burn The treatment of a burn injury depends on its severity. You can save a life by offering the…
autoimmune diseases facts
Autoimmune Diseases: Find out if your body is attacking you right now Did you know your body can harm itself? What are autoimmune diseases and why does it harm some…
Trisodium Phosphate: How a paint thinner made its way into your breakfast Ever thought how toxic chemicals find their way into our foods? How can they harm our body? And…
Fibromyalgia fatigue
HCG Diet: The dangers of using this diet to lose weight HCG is a natural hormone produced by both men and women that corresponds to fertility. But how is…
What is the average penis size and why should you care? Scientifically speaking, the average size of the penis depends on numerous factors such as genes, environmental circumstances, etc.
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
Keto diet healthy
Keto Diet: Did you know you could eat fats to burn fats? Keto diet - A wonder diet that lets you eat fats and lose weight too! Read on to…
collagen benefits skin
Collagen: Get age-defying skin and faster hair growth with this miracle protein Collagen – Wrinkle-free skin, stronger nails, and thicker locks – now you have more reasons to eat these…
Isagenix diet
Isagenix Diet: Do you really need liquid meal replacements to lose weight? Isagenix Diet - What are liquid meal replacements and why is the world going ga-ga over them? Are…
maltodextrin sugar
Maltodextrin: What are the hidden health benefits of this food additive? Maltodextrin is one of the few food additives that has been relatively deemed safe. Many experts now have…
Anhedonia: Does the chronic inability to feel joy affect you too? How often do you feel dragged down by an invisible force? Do you feel an inexplicable emotional numbness…
Anticholinergics: The diverse range of diseases a single drug can easily treat What started as a novel treatment for Parkinson' disease has now become an all-encompassing drug. What all can…
What is the right way to take a pregnancy test? A pregnancy test is undertaken to determine if you have conceived. A home pregnancy test is the most…
GERD heartburn
Heartburn: What are the exact symptoms and the best home remedies? There are easy home remedies for heartburn, which not only acts as a first aid when you experience…
11 unbelievable health benefits of thyme you didn’t know! Thyme is a herb that has been used in alternative medicine.It is a well known seasoning in the…
Orgasms: How to perfect the art of achieving intense bursts of pleasure (every time!) Orgasms are dependent not just on the sexual activity but on your partner as well. What you must…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…
fitness routine fun
10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic Resistance: How common diseases become deadly Can a cold kill you? How important is to get a flu shot? Why do antibiotics fail against…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
castor oil hair
Castor oil : A vitamin-rich oil for shiny locks and healthy bowels Castor oil bestows unlimited benefits, whether you use it for your hair or skin. But did you know…
glutamine workout
Glutamine: Why is this the right choice for muscle-gain supplement? Glutamine can help you gain muscles and build higher immunity. Read more to find out how you can…
iron food shellfish
Iron-Rich Foods: Eat these foods to keep fatigue and anemia away! How to ensure a muscles as strong as iron? Eat iron rich foods ! Iron is one of…
black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find out why should…
calorie counter
Calorie Counter: Count your calories before they flab Is calorie counting good? Are calories always bad for you? How do you if you are getting enough…
Cordyceps: How the Caterpillar fungus works as a proven cancer-shield Strange as it may sound, but cordyceps or "caterpillar fungus", a fungus variety native to the Himalayas may…
L-arginine: Your search for the ultimate fitness booster ends here L-arginine is an amino acid necessary for the body to perform various functions.  It is essential in producing…
Love tea, hate tannins? Rooibos tea is just what you need The market is brimming with a multitude of herbal teas. But what makes rooibos tea (or red bush)…
CLA: A breakthrough weight loss supplement with minimal side effects Tried every weight loss supplement in the market with no substantial gain? Why not try CLA supplements, derived…
Oxalates: How healthy greens can sometimes be bad news for your kidneys Oxalates are compounds present in a majority of healthy foods. However, at times an overconsumption of these could…
The Vegan Diet: The benevolent way of eating that wins hearts (and tummies) The vegan diet involves fauna-friendly outlook towards food. Could the diet that hopes to balance everything based on…
The complete fitness guide on how to perform Tabata This fitness routine is called Tabata workouts, which is named after Dr. Izumi Tabata who developed this intensive…
Burn those years of stubborn fat-deposits with a few minutes of HIIT! HIIT or high-intensity interval training seems to be the right type of fitness training that is required where…