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The Various Types of Lupus

RM Lupus

Lupus is an immune system disorder characterized by chronic and acute inflammation of various body tissues, extreme fatigue, and skin and hair symptoms. This is caused by a person’s body attacking itself due to a malfunctioning immune system. Although the disease only has one name, there are several types of lupus, some of which are more common than others.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus–SLE–is the most common form of the disorder. It can be severe or mild, and causes a broad range of symptoms. The primary symptoms of this type of lupus include kidney and lung inflammation, widespread pain, pulmonary hypertension, nervous system, inflammation, blood vessel disorders, and hardening of the arteries. It also causes various skin rashes, including the “butterfly rash” that is a hallmark of the disorder. It is the most debilitating form of the disorder and almost always requires a medication regimen to keep symptoms under control.

Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus

Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus, also called discoid lupus, is a kind of lupus that limits itself to the body’s largest organ–the skin. Discoid lupus causes a broad range of skin lesions and rashes. The most common of these is the discoid rash. This rash, from which the disorder takes its name, is a red, scaly raised rash that has a disc-like appearance. However, unlike what one may suspect, the rash is rarely itchy. The classic butterfly rash is also common with this type of lupus. Additional sores can appear in the mouth, nose, or vagina, causing some people to mistake their symptoms for herpes simplex one or herpes simplex two. About 10 percent of those suffering from cutaneous lupus go on to develop SLE.

Drug-Induced Lupus Erythematosus

Many individuals are unaware of the fact that another type of lupus exists, which is referred to as drug-induced lupus. This disease is the result of long-term use of certain medications. Symptoms of the drug-induced form of the disorder mimic those of systemic lupus erythematosus, but major organ damage typically does not occur with this variation of lupus.

Drugs that can cause this type of the disorder include the following:

• Isoniazid–used to treat tuberculosis
• Procainamide–used to treat heart dysrhythmias
• Hydralazine–used to treat high blood pressure

Drug-induced lupus is seen more often in men than women, as men typically take more heart and high blood pressure medications. Fortunately, the symptoms of this type of lupus typically disappear within six months of stopping the aforementioned medications. Anyone with symptoms of any type of lupus should seek prompt medical evaluation.