A Comparison Between Systemic Lupus Erythematosus And Discoid Lupus Erythematosus

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, around 1.5 million Americans suffer from different types of lupus. Among the diagnosed, 90 % of them are women. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation all over the body. An autoimmune disease occurs when your own immune system causes inflammation and breakdown of cells.

It is observed that people between the ages of 15 and 44 are most likely to be affected by lupus. Also, certain ethnic groups such as African American, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander or Hispanic are often affected by the disease.

There are mainly four types of lupus; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Discoid Lupus Erythematosus, Neonatal Lupus, and Drug-induced lupus. In this article, we will discuss about the two common types of lupus; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Discoid Lupus Erythematosus.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Discoid Lupus Erythematosus
Mostly affects women Skin rashes
Inflammations throughout the body Diagnosed with skin biopsy
Symptoms include hair loss and joint pain May lead to permanent scarring

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is the most common type of lupus that affects the human body. It mostly affects women than men. It was also observed that African Americans and Asians are more likely to be affected by Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

Symptoms Of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

The symptoms of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus may vary and changes over time. But the most common symptoms are:

  • Joint pain
  • Swelling on the joint
  • Severe headaches
  • Severe fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Anemia
  • Blood-clotting problems

Other symptoms of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus include rashes on cheeks and nose, Raynaud’s phenomenon. Some other symptoms of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus depend upon the attack of the disease on different body parts, such as the heart, the skin, and the digestive tract.

Many of the symptoms of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus are also symptoms of other diseases. Therefore, it makes diagnosis very tricky. It is better to consult a medical professional if you have any of these symptoms. A doctor will run tests to gather information for accurately diagnosing the disease.

Causes Of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

The exact reason for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is still unknown. But scientists think that it may be caused by some factors like genetic, hormonal, side effects of medications, environment, etc. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is not linked to a certain gene. But it is observed that people affected with lupus often have family members who suffer from other autoimmune diseases.

Environmental factors that might trigger Systemic Lupus Erythematosus include UV rays, viruses, medications, stress, and trauma. Many scientists believe that female sex hormone estrogen may play a major role in causing Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in women.

Diagnosing Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

The diagnosing of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus usually starts with a physical examination by doctors. They will look typical signs of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus on your body such as rashes, mucous membrane ulcers, swelling of the joints, hair loss, hair thinning, irregular heartbeats, etc. If a person has some of the symptoms, the doctor will order for a more elaborate diagnosis, which includes a chest X-ray, urinalysis, and blood tests.

Treatment For Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

The aim of lupus treatment is to ease the symptoms because until today a cure for the disease has not been discovered. The treatment will vary according to the severity of the symptoms and which body parts are affected with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. The treatment of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus includes anti-inflammatory medications, steroid creams for rashes, anti-malarial drugs, etc.

Discoid Lupus Erythematosus

Discoid Lupus Erythematosus, or Discoid Lupus, is the type of lupus that usually affects the skin. This disease got its name from the coin-shaped lesions it produces on the skin surface. Discoid Lupus causes severe rashes on the skin that gets worse when exposed to sunlight. These rashes may appear on the scalp, neck, hands, and feet of your body. Severe cases of Discoid Lupus may lead to permanent scarring on the skin, hair loss, hyperpigmentation, etc.

Symptoms Of Discoid Lupus Erythematosus

Most of the symptoms of Discoid Lupus Erythematosus are associated with the skin. The rashes on the skin range from appear on any part of the body. The common symptoms of Discoid Lupus include:

  • Round lesions on the skin
  • Thickening of scalp
  • Peeling of skin
  • Thinning of skin
  • Ulcers inside lips
  • Brittle fingernails
  • Light to darker skin pigmentation

Some other symptoms of Discoid Lupus include blistering lesions around the elbows and fingertips. Most people with Discoid Lupus also experience itching.

Treatment of Discoid Lupus Erythematosus

A skin biopsy can help in the diagnosis of Discoid Lupus Erythematosus. If you do not get proper treatment, it may lead to permanent scarring. One method of treating Discoid Lupus Erythematosus is by using steroids. They will help in reducing inflammation. Doctors often prescribe anti-malarial medications and immunosuppressive medications for the treatment of Discoid Lupus Erythematosus. Immunosuppressive medications lower the production of inflammatory cells. But a major problem in the treatment using these medications is that most of them cause mild to severe side effects.