What is lupus?

Systemic lupus erythematosus, also known as SLE, or simply lupus, is a disease that is characterized by periodic episodes of inflammation of and damage to the joints, tendons, other connective tissues, and organs, including the heart, lungs, blood vessels, brain, kidneys, and skin. The heart, lungs, kidneys, and brain are the organs most affected. Lupus affects each individual differently and the effects of the illness range from mild to severe. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that occurs in about one in 1,000 people. It is much more common in women of childbearing age, especially African-American women.

What are the symptoms of lupus?

The following are the most common symptoms of lupus. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • malar rash – a rash shaped like a butterfly that is usually found on the bridge of the nose and the cheeks.
  • discoid rash – a raised rash found on the head, arms, chest, or back.
  • fever
  • inflammation of the joints
  • sunlight sensitivity
  • hair loss
  • mouth ulcers
  • fluid around the lungs, heart, or other organs
  • kidney problems
  • low white blood cell or low platelet count
  • Raynaud phenomenon – a condition in which the blood vessels of the fingers and toes go into spasm when triggered by factors such as cold, stress, or illness.
  • weight loss
  • nerve or brain dysfunction
  • anemia

The symptoms of lupus may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

How is lupus diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, lupus may be diagnosed by symptoms and by blood tests for antibodies specific for the disease. The course of the disease ranges from mild to severe and most people have periods of increased symptoms called flares.

How does pregnancy affect lupus?

Pregnancy may or may not increase the symptoms of, or change the course of, lupus. Flares may occur at any time in pregnancy or the postpartum period (after delivery), but are usually mild.

How does lupus affect pregnancy?

Lupus can affect pregnancy at any stage. It is not clear whether the severity of the disease or the type of medication causes problems. However, there are higher pregnancy risks associated with lupus. The rate of miscarriage is higher, ranging from 9 to 40 percent. Later pregnancy loss may also be more likely. Pregnancy complications that may be increased in women with lupus include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • miscarriage
  • preterm delivery, especially with a lupus flare
  • premature rupture of membranes (early breaking of the amniotic sac)
  • pregnancy-induced hypertension (high blood pressure of pregnancy)
  • intrauterine growth restriction (poor fetal growth)
  • stillbirth

It is thought that high levels of antiphospholipid antibodies (antibodies that cause abnormal blood clotting) may be linked with stillbirth. Pregnancy loss may also be associated with the severity of lupus at the time of conception, or if lupus begins during pregnancy. It is also thought that kidney disease with lupus may play a role in pregnancy loss.

A rare condition called neonatal lupus erythematosus (NLE) may affect babies of mothers with lupus. Symptoms may include:

  • congenital heart block – a problem in the heart’s electrical system that causes the heart to be slower than normal. This affects about 5 percent of newborns who have no other heart defect.
  • skin rashes on the face, scalp, chest and upper back (these usually go away in the first year)
  • blood abnormalities including anemia, low platelets, and lowered white blood cell count

Management of lupus during pregnancy:

Because of the higher risks for pregnancy loss with lupus, mothers need close monitoring of the disease. More frequent prenatal visits are often needed.

Medications used to treat lupus may need to be changed (type and/or dosage), during pregnancy. Consult your physician for more information.

Testing during pregnancy with lupus may include the following:

  • blood tests for lupus (specific antibodies that help track the severity of the disease)
  • monitoring for signs of pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • ultrasound – a diagnostic imaging technique which uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Ultrasounds are used to view internal organs as they function, and to assess blood flow through various vessels used to monitor fetal growth and development.
  • fetal heart monitoring (to check the fetal heart rate for signs of distress)

Women with lupus can increase their chances for a healthy pregnancy by getting early prenatal care and working with their healthcare providers in the management of their disease.

Lupus death rate jumps:

There has been a sharp increase in deaths from lupus that is concerning government health officials. Reported in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the death rate from lupus increased by 35 percent over two decades. The greatest increase occurred among middle-aged black women, among whom the death toll rose by almost 70 percent.

Unfortunately experts have no clear explanation for the increase in the death rate. The CDC is considering establishing a special registry, which may help determine whether the increased death rate is real or comes from better recognition of the condition.

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One thought on “Discoid Lupus Treatment Scalp

  1. Dance-a-Holic

    I need help editing my research paper. I’m really bad at papers…..please help!?
    Well, its on lupus. I have the intro and two body paragraphs, and I still need to do the conclusion. So, I was wondering what I should change on my paper, and what I need to add..? I also have to do a powerpoint based on the paper, that should last a minimum of 5 minutes up to 15.

    The reason why I chose this topic was because my dad has lupus, and I wanted to know more about the topic. He was diagnosed with lupus when he was about fourteen years old. He still receives treatment for it by going in for blood tests and taking medication He has the most common form of lupus, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), in which causes the antibodies to react against his own normal tissue. He has arthritis and joint problems, but nothings wrong with his internal organs. To support my dad and other lupus survivors, my family and I all go to the lupus walk in honor of remembering the people who had lupus that died. The things the audience can expect to read in this paper are the different types of lupus, the symptoms, the treatment and cures.
    Lupus is the result of an unbalanced immune system that can be destructive to any organ in the body. It can be categorized into three groups: discoid lupus Erythematosus, systemic lupus Erythematosus, and drug-induced systemic lupus Erythematosus. DLE is always limited to the skin and is identified by a rash that may appear on the face, neck, and scalp. It can evolve into the systemic form, which can affect any organ or system of the body. Systemic lupus Erythematosus is more severe than discoid lupus and can affect almost any organ or organ system of the body. No two people with SLE will have identical symptoms. Drug-induced systemic Lupus Erythematosus occurs after the use of certain prescribed drugs. It is more common in men, because the drugs are given to them more often.
    Lupus is hard to diagnose because it has a wide range of symptoms involving various parts of the body; and symptoms differ from each person. Most people develop painful joints and a rash, but lupus may also cause fatigue, depressions, and kidney problems. The treatment of lupus varies from person to person because each person has different symptoms. Most people with SLE require a regular blood test to check for lupus flares. Medication is the primary medical treatment for lupus. Presently, there are no other methods available to treat lupus because there is nothing else that can have the necessary impact on the immune system. Currently, there is no cure for lupus, but with early diagnosis and proper medical treatment it can significantly help control the disease.

    thanks. it would be much appreciated!!!!

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