Understanding Lupus Erythematosus: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

Delve into the complexities of Lupus Erythematosus with insights on symptoms, causes, and various treatment options. Gain a comprehensive understanding of this autoimmune condition's impact on the body and explore effective management strategies for improved quality of life. Empower yourself with knowledge to navigate the challenges of Lupus Erythematosus with confidence.

Lupus disease is relatively rare. However, due to affected celebrities such as Seal or Lady Gaga, the disease is now known to a comparatively large number of people. However, very few people know precisely what is behind it. Lupus affects more than 5 million people worldwide; for Germany, the estimates are around 40,000 people. This makes lupus, or more precisely lupus erythematosus, one of the more rare diseases.

What is lupus disease?

Lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system overreacts and attacks the body’s tissues. This repeatedly causes inflammatory reactions in the affected areas.

Since the connective tissue is attacked in lupus erythematosus, like scleroderma, it is one of the collagen diseases, which in turn belongs to the inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Women of childbearing age are particularly affected by lupus.

 

term lupus

Lupus erythematosus owes its name to the symptoms on the skin that the disease can cause: The skin is reddened (erythematous = Greek for blushing), and the changes are reminiscent of wolf bites (lupus = Latin for wolf) in severe cases. Because this often spreads like a butterfly on the skin of the face, lupus is also known as butterfly lichen.

The short form lupus is used synonymously with lupus erythematosus. However, it should be noted that there are two other lupus diseases. These have nothing to do with lupus erythematosus but can cause similar skin symptoms: lupus pernio occurs in the context of sarcoidosis, and lupus vulgaris (also lupus expedient) is another name for the manifestations of skin tuberculosis.

Lupus erythematosus: forms

The term lupus erythematosus, or the short form lupus, summarizes several diseases with different symptoms, courses and prognoses. The therapy is also different.

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE): SLE is the rarer but more severe form. In SLE, the inflammation can occur not only in the skin but in almost all parts and organs of the body (systemic). Another name for SLE is lupus erythematosus disseminatus (LED).
  • Cutaneous lupus (chronic discoid lupus erythematosus, CDLE): Only the skin is affected in CDLE with a mild course. CDLE occurs about ten times as often as SLE and rarely progresses to SLE.
  • Special forms:
    • Subacute lupus erythematosus cutaneous ( SCLE ) represents an intermediate form: SCLE mainly affects the skin. However, SCLE can also affect joints, muscles and internal organs.
    • In the rare neonatal lupus erythematosus syndrome, a newborn born to a mother with lupus has symptoms caused by maternal antibodies transmitted through the uterus.

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