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Systemic lupus erythematosus: photos, symptoms, treatment, causes

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus: photos, symptoms, treatment, causes

    What it is - systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system, for unexplained reasons, produces antibodies to its own DNA cells.

    In this case, the connective tissues of both skin and internal organs are affected, correspondingly, almost all the systems of the body suffer.

    The causes of the disease are not fully understood, it is believed that the trigger mechanism in this case may be childbirth or abortion, severe stress, frequent sunbathing.

    Lupus is diagnosed most often in young women, and there is a genetic predisposition to this disease. The percentage of affected men is much lower. This disease in most cases occurs chronically and requires constant therapy and medical supervision, and in the absence of treatment leads to severe complications.

    Options for the course of the disease


    Systemic lupus erythematosus can occur in three forms:

    1. 1) Acute
    2. 2) Subacute
    3. 3) Chronic
    The most common is the chronic course of the disease. With this form of lupus there is a predominantly specific lesion of the skin, so often this form is called chronic dixoid lupus. In this case, the disease lasts for years, and sometimes decades.


    In this case, the prognosis is usually favorable, taking into account that the patient has to regularly take appropriate medications. Otherwise, the disease slowly but surely progresses, affecting a large number of organs and body systems. Despite the fact that lupus is considered an incurable disease, chronic forms may lead to self-healing.

    Acute form of lupus is considered one of the most dangerous, it is most often diagnosed in childhood. It develops very quickly, sometimes as a complication in the chronic course of the disease, and sometimes independently. With this form, many organs are affected, which is dangerous for the patient's life. Especially badly affected are the kidneys, cardiovascular and nervous systems of the body. The acute form, even despite an integrated approach, is difficult to treat.

    The subacute form of has similarities with the acute form, but the development of the disease the appearance of new symptoms is slower. Symptomatic in the post-stage stage is not as pronounced as during acute stages, a smaller number of organs are affected.

    Symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus


    Given that lupus is affected by the connective tissue of almost any organ, the symptoms of this disease are extremely diverse.

    Common symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus include such symptoms as an increase in body temperature( 37-37.5 with chronic form, and 39-40 degrees with acute lupus erythematosus), weakness, muscle pain, fatigue, joint pain, headachespain. In addition, patients notice a significant loss of weight, which occurs for no apparent reason.

    In the majority of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, the first symptom of the onset of the disease is skin rashes. Most often this is the so-called "butterfly" - a maculopapular red rash that is localized on the cheeks and resembles the butterfly's wings in its shape.

    Sometimes these rashes appear on the hands, feet, or in the decollete zone. In addition, a characteristic rash in lupus is also scaly red spots localized on the skin of the body( discoid rash), ulceration of the mucous membranes( oral cavity, vagina, nose), and alopecia areata. Pain in the joints is another bright symptom of lupus erythematosus.

    Most often in this case, small hand joints suffer. Patients are diagnosed with polyarthritis and arthralgia. The prognosis is usually favorable, as the destruction of bone tissue does not occur. However, in a rather large percentage of patients, changes in the joints caused by the disease are irreversible.

    Lupus also affects the kidneys, causing nephritis of varying degrees of difficulty. When the membranes of the heart are damaged, malfunctions occur in the body, with time, pericarditis, endocarditis, myocarditis and other pathologies are formed. Symptoms from the central nervous system, gastrointestinal tract are less common.

    Diagnosis of Lupus


    When there are symptoms of lupus erythematosus, you should consult a rheumatologist. To date, the diagnosis is confirmed if the patient has at least 4 points from the list of criteria for diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus.

    The following parameters belong to these criteria:

    • the presence of antinuclear antibodies in the blood.
    • hematologic disorders: leukopenia, antibodies to erythrocytes, thrombocytopenia.
    • the presence of specific immunological parameters: anti-DNA, aLL, or anti-Sm.
    • dixoid rash.
    • ulcers localized in the mouth and other mucous membranes.
    • rash on the cheeks, nose and cheekbones( lupus "butterfly").
    • pericarditis or pleurisy.
    • symptoms from the side of the central nervous system: convulsions, psychosis.
    • kidney damage, manifested by cylinders and protein in urine tests.
    • hypersensitivity to light.
    • arthritis, in which at least two peripheral joints are affected.
    Thus, for the detection of lupus erythematosus it is necessary to conduct a general blood test, a blood test for the presence of specific antibodies, urine analysis, ultrasound examination of the heart and other organs, echocardiography, and x-rays.

    During the diagnosis of lupus erythematosus, it is important to make a differential diagnosis with other diseases that have a similar symptomatology. In this case, we are talking about rheumatism, septic endocarditis, acute leukemia, hemoblastoses. In addition, cutaneous manifestations of lupus are often confused with allergic reactions of the body to many medicines.

    Treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus


    The gold standard for treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus to date is the use of glucocorticoids - hormonal anti-inflammatory drugs, most often prednisolone. They are used to treat all forms of lupus, however, at an acute stage the dose is much higher than in a chronic or subacute.

    Also in the treatment of lupus is very important to take drugs that depress the immune system, the so-called cytostatic immunosuppressants. To such a variety of medicines belongs, in particular, azathioprine and cyclophosphamide.

    For the removal of pain, reducing inflammation, as well as for enhancing the effects of glucocorticoids, in case of lupus, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are also used: salicylates, indomethacin, pyrazolone preparations.

    In some cases, patients with lupus erythematosus may be prescribed plasmapheresis. The essence of this procedure is to maximize the purification of blood from antibodies that cause tissue damage. Such therapy is chosen, as a rule, in the event that the disease proceeds aggressively.

    People who are diagnosed with lupus erythematosus should also adhere to a special regimen in daily life. They are not recommended to sunbathe, to drink alcohol, to conduct unreasonable vaccination, to smoke. Also, one should try to avoid hypothermia, colds and viral diseases.


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