lupus rash vs rosacea

lupus rash vs rosacea

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lupus rash vs rosacea

Lupu is an autoimmune disorder, with the term often used colloquially to describe the most prevalent form known as systemic lupu erythematosus (SLE).

Your immune system protects your body from infection. But when you have lupu, your immune system attacks your own tissue.

 Symptoms of lupus rash vs rosacea

Lupus symptoms vary from person to person. Certain individuals may experience only a handful of symptoms, while others may manifest a broader array of signs. Lupu can affect any part of your body. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the joints (arthralgia)
  • Fever over 100 F
  • Swollen joints (arthritis)
  • Persistent or severe fatigue
  • Skin rash
  • Ankle swelling
  • Pain in your chest when taking a deep breath (pleurisy)
  • A rash resembling a butterfly’s wings, spanning your cheeks and nose (referred to as a malar rash).
  • Wearing hair
  • Sensitivity to sun or other light
  • Convulsions
  • Mouth or nose sores
  • Pale or purple fingers or toes when you are cold or stressed (Raynaud’s phenomenon)

Lupus complications

Many people with active lupus feel generally ill. They have fever, weight loss and fatigue. When their immune system attacks a specific organ or part of the body, they may have more specific problems. Lupus can affect these parts of the body:

  • Leather. Skin problems are common with lupu. Hence hair loss and mouth sores. If you have a type called discoid lupus, you’ll get large, red, circular rashes that may scar. Sunlight usually irritates the skin rash. A common lupu rash called subacute cutaneous lupu erythematosus is often worse after you’ve been out in the sun. You may have it on your hands, feet, and torso. A rare but serious form of lupus rash called bullous lupu rash causes large blisters.
  • Joints. Arthritis is very common in people with lupu. It can be painful with or without swelling. Stiffness and pain may be worse in the morning. Arthritis can be a problem for just a few days or weeks, or it can be permanent. It is usually not serious.
  • Kidneys. About half of people with lupu have kidney problems. They can be dangerous. These problems are more likely if you have other lupu symptoms, such as fatigue, arthritis, rash, fever, and weight loss. But they can also happen when you have no other symptoms.
  • Blood. Individuals diagnosed with lupu may experience critically low levels of red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets (which are essential for blood clotting).

Changes in blood counts can cause fatigue (low red blood cell counts, also known as anemia), serious infections (with low white blood cell counts) or easy bruising or bleeding (with low platelet counts). However many people have no symptoms of low blood counts. It is important to have regular blood tests to detect these problems.

Individuals with lupu are at a higher risk of developing blood clots. They often occur in your legs (called deep venous thrombosis or DVT), in your lungs (called pulmonary embolism or PE), and sometimes in your brain (stroke). These clots can be related to how your body makes things called antiphospholipid (APL) antibodies. These are abnormal proteins that can increase your chances of blood clotting.

Brain and spinal cord: Infrequently, lupu can lead to complications in the brain. You may have confusion, depression or seizures. When lupu impacts your spinal cord, resulting in transverse myelitis, it can lead to sensations of numbness and weakness.

Heart and lungs: Heart and lung problems are often caused by inflammation of the tissue that covers your heart (pericardium) and lungs (pleura). When they become inflamed, you may have chest pain, an uneven heartbeat, and a build-up of fluid around your lungs (pleuritis or pleurisy) and heart (pericarditis). Your heart valves and the lungs themselves can be affected, causing shortness of breath.

Lupus causes

Doctors don’t know exactly what causes lupu. But they think something — or a combination of something — triggers your immune system to attack your body. This is why most treatments aim to weaken your immune system. The things that lead to this faulty immune response are not clear, but scientists think they include:

Gene. There is little evidence that specific genes directly cause lupu, but some genes appear to increase your risk for the disease. For example, people of certain ethnicities—Hispanic, Native American, African, Asian, Pacific Islander—are more likely to develop lupu, possibly because of shared genes.

Still, it seems clear that genes are not enough to cause the disease. Even in identical twins (those with identical genes) where one twin has lupus, the other twin is about 30% more likely to develop the disease.

Hormones (probably). Women get lupus more often than men. Also, lupus symptoms seem to increase during pregnancy, before a menstrual period and when estrogen is high.

But estrogen medications, such as birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy, are lupus risks.

Types of Lupus

The main types of lupu are:

  • Systemic lupu erythematosus (SLE). This is the most common form of lupu, where inflammation from a malfunctioning immune system inflames several organs or organ systems.
  • Lupu nephritis. This is inflammation of the kidneys due to SLE.
  • Cutaneous lupu. In this scenario, an aberrant immune response triggers the development of skin rashes or lesions.
  • Drug-induced lupu. Medications cause this type of lupu. Symptoms may stop when the medication is stopped.
  • Neonatal lupus: This type of lupu occurs in babies whose mothers have SLE.

Lupus diagnosis

Your doctor will look for the main symptoms of the disease based on your symptoms and blood tests.

The American College of Rheumatology offers a checklist to aid physicians in diagnosing lupu. A likely diagnosis of lupu is indicated if you exhibit at least four of the 11 criteria, either concurrently or sequentially.

  • A malar rash, the “butterfly” rash on your cheeks.
  • An isolated rash, red, scaly patches of skin that cause scarring.
  • Photosensitivity, a skin reaction or sensitivity to sunlight.
  • Mouth sores, open mouth sores.
  • Arthritis, pain, inflammation, or swelling in your joints.
  • Kidney problems, either red blood cells or excess protein in your urine (proteinuria).
  • Nervous system problems, seizures, or psychosis.
  • Inflammation of the tissue around your lungs (pleuritis) or around your heart (pericarditis).
  • A blood disorder, either low red blood cell count (anemia), low white blood cell count (leukopenia), low lymphocytes (lymphopenia), or low platelets (thrombocytopenia).
  • An immunologic disorder with certain cells or proteins, or a false-positive test for syphilis.
  • Abnormal blood work, a positive test for something called antinuclear antibodies (ANA).

Antinuclear antibody test

Your body produces proteins called antibodies in response to invaders such as bacteria and viruses. ANAs target certain things in a cell’s nucleus. You have a lot of them when your immune system is working against your own tissue.

An ANA test is a sensitive tool for detecting autoimmune diseases, including lupu. It measures how many times your blood needs to be diluted to get a sample that contains no antibodies.

Does a positive ANA test result imply that I have lupus?

Not necessarily. The ANA test is positive in most people who have lupu, but it can also be positive in many people who have other autoimmune diseases or who have no disease at all. A positive ANA test alone is not enough for your doctor to diagnose lupu. You will need at least three of the other criteria.

Lupus treatment

Your lupu treatment will depend on several factors, including your age, your overall health, your medical history, which parts of your body are affected, and how severe your case is.

Because lupu can change over time, it’s important to see a doctor regularly, such as a specialist called a rheumatologist.


Individuals with less severe instances may not require any form of treatment. People with more severe symptoms, such as kidney problems, may need stronger drugs. Medicines that treat lupu include:

  • Benlysta (belimumab). This medication is classified as a biologic, emulating natural proteins. Its mechanism involves suppressing the immune system by specifically targeting a protein associated with lupus.
    • Cellcept (mycophenolate mofetil). More doctors are using this drug to treat severe lupu symptoms, especially in people who have taken cytoxan. It works on your immune system.Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide). This chemotherapy medication additionally compromises your immune system. It treats severe forms of lupu, such as those affecting your kidneys or brain.Imuran (azathioprine). It treats severe symptoms of lupu. Initially, it was a go-to to ensure that organs felt welcomed and right at home post-transplant!Plakunil (hydroxychloroquine). This medication assists in managing minor lupu-related issues, such as skin and joint conditions. It can prevent flare-ups.Rheumatrex (methotrexate). Another chemotherapy drug that weakens your immune system. More doctors are using it for skin diseases, arthritis, and other conditions that don’t respond well to low-dose hydroxychloroquine or the steroid prednisone.Rituxan (rituximabA remarkable biologic that addresses both lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis, offering a dual impact on these conditions. You can take it if you have severe symptoms that don’t go away with other treatments.Saphnelo (anifrolumab-fnia). This new injectable immunosuppressant is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with moderate to severe (SLE) who are receiving standard therapy.
    • Steroids. Steroid cream can be applied directly to the rash. They are generally safe and effective, especially for mild rashes. Low doses of steroid creams or pills can ease mild or moderate symptoms of lupus. If lupus affects your internal organs, you may take high doses of steroids. But high levels also have side effects

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