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LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS: Causes, Signs and Treatment


Lupus Erythematosus Definition: Lupus disease is relatively rare. Lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease, in which the defence system overreacts and acts against the body-borne tissue. As a result, inflammatory reactions are repeatedly caused at the affected sites. Since the connective tissue is attacked in lupus erythematosus, it counts as scleroderma the collagenases, which again belong to the inflammatory-rheumatic diseases. Lupus is particularly affected by women of childbearing age.

Lupus erythematosus owes its name to the symptoms on the skin which may be caused by the disease: the skin is reddened (erythematosus), and the changes are reminiscent of wolf bites. As this often spreads in a butterfly-like manner on the skin of the face, the lupus is also referred to as butterfly-lichen.

The short form lupus is used synonymously to lupus erythematosus. However, it should be noted that there are two other lupus diseases. These have nothing to do with lupus erythematosus, but can produce similar symptoms of the skin: the lupus pernio occurs in a sarcoidosis, the lupus vulgaris (also lupus exedens) is another term for the manifestations of the skin tuberculosis.


Lupus Erythematosus Causes: The causes of a disease with lupus are still unclear. It is true that there is an autoimmune disease in lupus, ie, immune reactions of the immune system, which are directed against the own tissue. However, what exactly are the causes of this formation of autoantibodies in lupus disease is unknown. There is certainly a hereditary component: in families with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the susceptibility to developing the disease (genetic disposition) is increased. It is unclear what triggering factors need to occur to prevent lupus disease. Discussions include viruses and UV light, as well as hormones.

In addition, it is assumed that the organism of affected individuals can only function to a certain extent by clearing up unnecessary or potentially harmful cells so that dead material is not sufficiently degraded and accumulates. This, in turn, is classified as dangerous by the immune system and causes defensive reactions: This initiates the inflammation process and the lupus disease breaks out.



Lupus Erythematosus Symptom: The symptoms of the SLE occur in different frequency and expression. The symptoms of the SLE caused by organ inflammation, which has sometimes been very pronounced, have now become quite rare due to the therapy. The following symptoms are relatively typical for lupus disease, especially when several occur together:

  • Hair loss (often first sign of the disease)
  • Changes of the skin, often as a butterfly erythema in the face (flat to slightly raised reddening of the cheeks, which pulls over the nasal crest)
  • General complaints (fatigue, performance impairment, difficulty concentrating)
  • Joint pain, joint inflammation – symptoms similar to rheumatism
  • Muscle aches
  • Dry eyes (as a result of impaired tear secretion)
  • Hypersensitivity to light (photosensitivity) with signs of a headache, fatigue and fever after sun exposure
  • Symptoms of inflammation of gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, rib fur, lymph nodes, heart bags and heart muscle, lung, pancreas and brain


Lupus Erythematosus Treatment: In the case of slight symptoms on the skin, only these are treated with skin cream during a therapy. In particular, this applies to the therapy of discoid lupus. In systemic lupus (SLE), four groups of medicines are used in therapy, which gradually builds up according to the extent of the complaints and the organ involvement. Many of these therapeutics are used not only for SLE but also for rheumatism and other autoimmune diseases :

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which help against inflammation-induced pain in joints and muscles, especially in lupus
  • Basic therapy with chloroquine – a means that even if malaria is used
  • Cortisone preparations have anti-inflammatory properties and are often combined with chloroquine
  • Immunosuppressants are then used in therapy if the symptoms do not improve with the other remedies or organs are involved. They sometimes have serious side effects, which is why their use has to be weighed well and are under close control. The active ingredient most commonly used in lupus is azathioprine; Cyclosporin A and mycophenolate mofetil are often used as well. Also, cytostatics like cyclophosphamide or methotrexate are used in SLE, as thalidomide.
  • Therapy of CDLE and SCLE In the case of discoid lupus (CDLE) and subcutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE), a short-term local ointment treatment with cortisone preparations (often with an overnight dressing) is usually sufficient for therapy. In more severe cases of these types of lupus, the agent is also injected locally. In addition, local treatment with liquid nitrogen can also help to heal skin changes. If these methods are not sufficient, malarials are also given as a measure within the therapy.

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