The symptoms of lupus and its intensity are different from one case to another. It is an autoimmune disease, which occurs when the immune system abnormally releases its antinuclear antibodies and directs their attack against the organism’s own healthy tissues including, in some cases, even the DNA. The genetic material is thus altered itself by the aggressive action of the anti – DNA antibodies. This organic chaos generates extremely damaging actions on the organs, causing kidney, heart or lung diseases, conditions of the nervous system – such as brain disease, skin affection like lupus rash, erythematous lesions, or musculoskeletal system problems (osteoporosis, arthritis).
Different patients usually experience different lupus symptoms. But the one that is constantly present in many cases is rash, in one of its two existing forms: systemic and discoid. It is the first sign of lupus and also the most persistent, unlike the others that appear and disappear over and over again.
This symptom affects the areas with increased exposure to the sunlight – the most dangerous enemy of a person with lupus – such as face, neck, shoulders and scalp. It is also possible for it to affect the chest, feet, palms and back and it usually comes with lesions of the skin. On the face, lupus generates the aspect of a red, burned skin and may also extend over the tissues that surround the nose and the mouth.
The systemic lupus erythematosus can be improved by the proper treatment. It doesn’t scar the skin, unless it is exposed to sunlight for large intervals.
The second form, the discoid lupus produces extended lesions in more than one body part. This form leads to the skin exfoliation, hyper – pigmentation and generates crusts. It usually leaves scars because its damaging actions get deeper in the skin layers. Serious scaring will remain on the skin in case the rush also involves papules, crust and intense scaling. Once it attacks the scalp, alopecia occurs (the loss of hair that may be temporary or permanent).
Another type of lupus rash is the subacute cutaneous form, which can be encountered in both systemic and discoid lupus. It affects the parts with the highest degree of solar exposure and takes the form of circular, scaly patches that have increasing surfaces of extension. It doesn’t completely disappear but it enters remission. The healing process involves hypo – pigmentation, without scarring. This type of rash can be successfully kept under control by the adequate medicines.
Solar exposure should be absolutely avoided in any type of lupus rash because it will seriously worsen the condition.