Lupus is an umbrella term for autoimmune disorder that affects several parts of the body, including the skin, joints, and internal organs. Similar to other autoimmune related diseases, malfunctioning of the body's own immune system is responsible for causing this ailment, leading to several symptoms and complications. This condition is clinically known as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). As per medical researches, it is estimated that women are at a higher risk of developing lupus disease than men. Also, it occurs mostly in the age between 10 to 50.
What is Lupus Rash?
Lupus rash, as the term suggests, refers to the skin disorder symptoms manifested due to lupus disease. It is observed in more than 90 percent patients who are diagnosed with SLE. The actual symptoms of lupus may differ from one individual to another. However, in all patients, this form of rash is triggered after being exposed to harsh sunlight. Depending upon the causes, severity of the rash and diagnostic results, the doctor will recommend the best alternative for lupus rash treatment.
Causes and Symptoms
As of now, the exact cause of lupus skin rash is not identified. In majority of the cases, genetic factor plays a major role in causing this form of rash. Nevertheless, in a few patients, there is no history of genetic predisposition to lupus. Considering these issues, it is concluded that both hereditary and environmental factors are responsible for causing lupus rash.
Appearance of rash is the early sign for systemic lupus and discoid lupus. The latter form affects larger skin areas and causes hyperpigmentation, scaling, exfoliation, and crusting. Though rash may be manifested in any part of the body, the commonly affected areas include face (especially nose and mouth), neck, scalp, and shoulders. Persistent redness of the cheeks caused by lupus is known as malar blush. Identifiable symptoms of lupus rash include red skin patches, skin rashes, painful skin lesions, and raised nodules. Presence of this rash type in the scalp may result in temporary hair loss.
Being a chronic disease, the signs and symptoms of lupus may recur at regular intervals. However, in most patients, skin rash is persistent and very difficult to treat. Though there are some effective therapeutic alternatives for alleviating the symptoms, there is no cure for lupus disease and associated rashes. Treatment approaches for lupus rash are proceeded based on the exhibited symptoms.
Topical treatment of lupus rash involves application of steroid containing ointments and creams over the affected areas. Mild rash symptoms can be addressed by using hydrocortisone, while application of a strong betamethasone is recommended for severe cases. Topical treatment is mostly successful if diagnosed in the early stages.
Another option for addressing lupus rash is administration of oral medication. This oral therapy is essential for controlling recurrent onset of rashes. Antimalarial, slow acting drugs are effective for reducing skin problems resulted due to lupus disease. The course of such medication may be several months long, but on completion, the results are positive in most cases.
If required, the physician may prescribe an injection shot to treat lupus symptoms. Basically, long-lasting steroid injections are delivered for painful skin lesions and discoid lupus rash treatment. Doing so aids in quick healing of the troublesome skin symptoms. As there are several side effects of steroid injections, this should be considered as the last option when topical ointments and antimalarial drugs do not show prompt results.
In brief, lupus treatment is essential to avoid severe complications. Care has to be taken while applying topical steroids to the face as it can lead to scar formation and other chronic problems. Doctors are also of the opinion that certain drugs and medication can trigger lupus rash. If such is the case, replacing the current medication is a necessary step to alleviate the symptoms. Medical research is still ongoing to study the relation of lupus rash with other health conditions and also, to find ways for preventing the health risks of lupus.