Discoid Lupus Erythematosus – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

March 19 22:03 2019 Print This Article

Discoid Lupus Erythematosus is an autoimmune disease and a chronic skin disorder, in which a red skin rash appears on face, ears, and scalp or anywhere on the skin. This rash is raised and the areas with these rashes may become thick, scaly and may cause scarring. These lesions generally develop as a red, inflamed patch that appears as a crust. The center areas of these lesions appear scaly, lighter in color with the dark edge. These lesions lead to hair loss if they appear in hairy areas. A small percentage of patients with discoid lupus can develop disease of the internal organs, which can make the person sick. Children and people with many spots are usually at more risk of this. If a doctor suspects this condition, a skin biopsy needs to be done to confirm the diagnosis because other conditions can look like discoid lupus erythematosus. If the skin biopsy shows discoid lupus erythematosus, then further blood testing may be indicated.

The exact cause is unknown, but it is thought to be autoimmune with the body’s immune system incorrectly attacking normal skin. This condition tends to run in families. Females outnumber males with this condition 3 to 1. In some patients with discoid lupus erythematosus, sunlight and cigarette smoking may make the lesions come out. Cortisone ointment applied to the skin in the involved areas will often improve the lesions and slow down their progression. Cortisone injections into the lesions will also treat discoid lupus and usually are more effective than the ointment form of cortisone. If the lesions are becoming unsightly and one really feel something more needs to be done, a drug named Plaquenil will often improve the condition.

Discoid Lupus Erythematosus is a peculiar disorder of the skin.  It can occur at any age, but it is more commonly seen in adults.  Typically the disorder appears as an eruption on the sun exposed areas of the body (face, back of hands, arms and upper chest). Discoid lupus Erythematosus may occur in people with systemic lupus erythematosus and some people with discoid lupus erythematosus may develop systemic lupus erythematosus. Very few people with discoid lupus erythematosus can develop the disease of internal organs.

Causes of Discoid Lupus Erythematosus

Though the exact cause of discoid lupus erythematosus is unknown, it is considered as an autoimmune disorder, which occurs when body’s immune system is misdirected against the body. In this the body’s immune system attacks and destroys its own tissues like white blood cells (Tlymphocyte). The injury to skin causes inflammation, which further results in lesions. These lesions may also be caused by mental stress, trauma, exposure to sun and cold. Exposure to sun may also be the cause for the outbreak of lesions. Cigarette smoking may also make the lesions come out.

Find common causes and risk factors of Discoid Lupus Erythematosus:

  • The cause is unknown.
  • Females outnumber males with this condition 3 to 1.
  • This condition tends to run in families.

Signs and Symptoms of Discoid Lupus Erythematosus

Sign and symptoms may include the following:

  • Scalp rash.
  • Hair loss caused due to scalp rash.
  • Ear rash.
  • Red, raised rash on the face.
  • Rash on bridge of nose.
  • Scaling.
  • Scarring.

Treatment for Discoid Lupus Erythematosus

Treatment may include:

  • Cortisone ointment applied to the skin in the involved areas will often improve the lesions and slow down their progression.
  • Cortisone injections into the lesions will also treat discoid lupus and usually are more effective than the ointment form of cortisone.
  • Avoid sunlight exposure.
  • Antimalarial drugs.
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