There are two main strains of lupus:
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The version that affects interior organs.
Cutaneous lupus erythematosus. The type that affects the skin and causes a rash.
The latter is what we will cover in this article.
What is a Lupus Rash?
The autoimmune disorder Lupus causes the body to attack its tissues. The most coveted target is the skin, but the disease has been known to damage internal organs as well. So, what is a lupus rash?
A defining characteristic of the condition a butterfly-shaped rash that extends across the bridge of the nose and cheeks.
What Does a Lupus Rash Look Like?
It gives sufferers a bit of a Santa Claus resemblance, with rosy cheeks and a flushed face. Skin often becomes severely dry and flaky and develops an acute sensitivity to sunlight. The neck, arms, and shoulders can be affected with a purple, scaly rash with a tendency to itch and burn.
In many people, lupus will attack the nails and nail beds. Fingernails break easily and split down the middle. Blue or reddish spots on the base of nails are common. Fingertips can swell and take on a puffy appearance. If the illness affects the scalp, you may see bald patches of hair loss.
Need more specifics on what does a lupus rash look like? We have pulled some photos of specific cases based on gender and severity. Scroll down for more information.
Lupus Symptoms in Women: Images of Rash
Lupus is approximately nine times more prevalent in women than in men. The reason for this is largely unknown, but medical scientists theorize that it is related to sex chromosomes and hormones. In a complex study, researchers were able to identify differences in the sexes and conclude that men required a greater average cumulative total of lupus-prone genes than women to develop the disease.
Both men and women experience the following signs:
- Achy and swollen joints.
- Pleurisy. Pain on the chest when taking a deep breath.
- Prolonged fatigue.
- Sores on mouth and nose.
- Raynaud’s phenomenon. Cold, pale, and purple ends of fingers and toes due to poor circulation.
Treatment for men and women is mostly identical, but pregnant or childbearing-aged women who hope to become knocked up should avoid the following prescriptions due to their teratogenic tendencies (risk of birth defects):
- Leflunomide (Arava)
- Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
- Mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept)
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
Lupus has been shown to present issues during pregnancy for women including miscarriage, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, diabetes, urinary tract infections (UTI), and increases of disease flares.
Lupus symptoms in women displays in images of the rash in the following pictures.
Lupus Symptoms in Men: Photos of Rash
Men only compromise around 4 to 18 percent of reported lupus cases. The males are also more susceptible to specific, more serious, ramifications of the disease like:
- Kidney malfunction
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Serositis. Inflammation of the lining of the lungs, abdomen, and heart.
- Pleuritis. Lung inflammation.
Men’s fertility can be affected by lupus, despite not being the vessel for the fetus. While no evidence suggests their virility is affected directly by the disease, immune-suppressing medications can damage sperm cells.
With lupus symptoms in men, the rash is more likely to be scaly with circular red spots (in contrast to the butterfly rash). This is called a discoid rash and these images will help you classify it.
Exposure Pics of Lupus Rash in Children
The target audience for lupus is women in their late teens through around age 45. There has been a link discovered between estrogen and lupus diagnosis. While not the majority, lupus rash in children does exist. It is estimated that 25,000 children under the age of 15 are struck with lupus each year.
Pediatric lupus can range from mild to severe and even be fatal in rare instances. Kidney problems are common among young kids and adolescents with lupus, with many requiring transplants to survive.
The following exposure pics tell the story of dealing with lupus at such a tender age. Check out the images of the outbreak on the legs, common in younger patients.
Lupus Rash Treatment
No total cure has been discovered for lupus, yet. Like all autoimmune dysfunction, the disease lasts a lifetime and requires consistent management. Effective lupus rash treatment includes due diligence and a combination of the following tactics:
- Topical immunomodulators. A new wave of autoimmune specific ointments show promise in reducing rash breakouts with the added bonus of avoiding side-effects of corticosteroids. Two leaders in the field are tacrolimus ointment (Protopic) and pimecrolimus cream (Elidel).
- Corticosteroids. These come packaged in creams, gels, foams, pills, lotions, and sprays. These drugs mimic adrenal gland function and reduce inflammation. Negative side-effects, as mentioned previously, include weight gain, fluid retention, and hypertension which are all magnified by too much sodium in the diet.
- Antimalarials. Pharmaceuticals typically prescribed for malaria can be used off-label to reduce lupus symptoms by shrinking autoantibody production and decreasing sun sensitivity.
Prevention techniques are preferable to working backward to calm an outbreak. Try:
- Avoiding sunlight.
- Getting adequate sleep.
- Stop eating triggering foods. Diabolical choices include red meat, garlic, alfalfa, alcohol, and salty processed foods.
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