There are times when an individual’s body attacks its own tissues, causing different issues and problems. This can affect many different tissues within the body, including muscles, joints, organs, and other bodily tissues. However, one tissue that is most commonly affected is the skin. There are several autoimmune skin disorders that can occur when your body turns against itself. One of the most commonly treated autoimmune skin disorders at Azeal Dermatology Institute in Boulder, is lupus.
If you have an autoimmune disease besides lupus, our dermatologists can help you diagnose it and find the best treatment option for you. For now, we are going to dive a little deeper and give you more information about lupus since it is one autoimmune disease that we deal with often.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune disease classified as chronic (symptoms and signs tend to last longer than six weeks to years), that can damage any element of the body. While it can affect joints and organs within the body, the skin is the most prominently affected component.
Lupus is a long-term autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to become hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissues. This is not a contagious disease, however, there are rare cases in which a mother will give birth to a baby who develops a form of lupus.
Types of Lupus
There are a few different types of lupus, all of which can affect the skin.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
SLE is the most familiar type of lupus and is a systemic condition, which means that it has an impact throughout the body. This is a more severe type of lupus because it can affect any of the body’s organs or systems and can cause inflammation in the skin, joints, lungs, blood, heart, and kidneys.
Discoid Lupus Erythematosus
DLE, also known as cutaneous lupus, is one type that affects only the skin. This type of lupus leaves a rash on the neck, face, and scalp. This rash can be raised and may become scaly and thick, which may result in scarring. About 10 percent of people with DLE will go on to develop SLE.
Subacute Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus
This type of lupus refers to the skin lesions that develop on the areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun. These lesions do not cause scarring on the body.
This is the type of lupus that can be developed by newborns. While most babies born to mothers with SLE are healthy, there is about one percent of women with autoantibodies related to lupus who will have a baby with neonatal lupus. At birth, babies with this type of lupus may have a skin rash, liver problems, and low blood counts and about 10 percent will have anemia.
Why do Individuals Get Lupus?
Some individual’s immune systems don’t have the ability to fight off germs, bacteria, and viruses. In an immune system without an autoimmune disorder, individuals have what are called “antibodies” to protect their body from any type of invader, such as the flu virus. When you have an autoimmune disorder, your body cannot tell the difference between healthy cells and foreign invaders, which creates autoantibodies. Autoantibodies are what attack and destroy healthy tissues, creating damage, pain, and inflammation in various parts of the body.
There are many different symptoms associated with lupus. Some of the symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in joints and muscles
- Swelling in joints, muscles, legs, and around the eyes
- Unusual hair loss
- Skin rashes due to bleeding under the skin
- Butterfly rash on cheeks
- And more
If you have been diagnosed with lupus, we encourage you to reach out to Azeal Dermatology Institute in Boulder! We have the experience and expertise you need and can trust to treat your lupus as best as possible. With our techniques, we know we can help you feel healthy again. Contact us today to learn more about the lupus treatments we offer and how we can help you with this autoimmune skin disorder.