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The Essence of Lupus

Part 1 of 5 - Types of Lupus


Updated May 16, 2014

The Essence of Lupus
Sarella/Wikimedia Commons
Lupus is a complex autoimmune disease. In people with lupus, the immune system turns against parts of the body it is designed to protect. Lupus can affect many parts of the body, including the organs.

Types of Lupus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the form of the disease that most people are think of when they speak of lupus. Systemic implies that the disease can affect many parts of the body, including organs. Symptoms may be mild or severe. Typically, the first symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus develop between the ages of 15 and 45 years, but it does affect people younger and older too.

Discoid lupus erythematosus is a chronic skin disorder characterized by a red, raised rash which appears on the face, scalp, or other skin areas. The raised rash can become thick and scaly, possibly even causing scarring. The rash can linger for days, years, and possibly recur. Some, but not most, people diagnosed with discoid lupus will develop systemic lupus erythematosus down the road.

Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus is a type of lupus with skin lesions that appear on parts of the body that have been sun-exposed. The lesions associated with this type of lupus do not cause scarring.

Drug-induced lupus, as its name suggests, is a form of lupus caused by medications. Many different drugs can cause drug-induced lupus. While symptoms of drug-induced lupus are much like those associated with systemic lupus, they typically disappear the drug is stopped. It's also important to note that the kidneys and brain are rarely involved.

Neonatal lupus is a rare type of lupus that can occur in newborn babies of women with systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren's syndrome, or no disease. Women with systemic lupus or other autoimmune disorders should consult with their doctor while pregnant. It's possible for doctors to identify mothers at high risk for complications.

Go on to Part 2 --- Signs and Symptoms of Lupus --->

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