Lupus erythematosus, or simply called "lupus", is an autoimmune
disease that can cause inflammation and damage to various parts of the
including skin, joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and brain. The
term lupus means "wolf" and erythematosus
means "redness". In 1851, doctors coined this name for the disease
because they thought the facial rash that frequently accompanies lupus looked
like the bite of a wolf.
There are several types of lupus:
Systemic lupus erythematosus is the most common form.
It’s sometimes called SLE, or just lupus. The word systemic means
that the disease can involve many parts of the body such as the heart,
lungs, kidneys, and brain.
Discoid lupus erythematosus is a chronic skin disorder in which a red,
raised rash appears on the face, scalp, or elsewhere. The raised areas may
become thick and scaly and may cause scarring. The rash may last for days
or years and may recur. A small percentage of people with discoid lupus
have or develop SLE later.
Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus refers to skin lesions that
appear on parts of the body exposed to sun. The lesions do not cause
Drug-induced lupus is triggered by a few medicines.
It’s like SLE, but symptoms are usually milder. Most of the time, the
disease goes away when the medicine is stopped. More men develop
drug-induced lupus because the drugs that cause it, hydralazine and
procainamide, are used to treat heart conditions that are more common in
Neonatal lupus is a rare disease that can occur in
newborn babies of women with SLE, Sjögren’s syndrome, or no disease at
all. Scientists suspect that neonatal lupus is caused by autoantibodies in
the mother’s blood called anti-Ro (SSA) and anti-La (SSB).
Autoantibodies ('auto' means self) are blood proteins that act against
the body's own parts. At birth, the babies have a skin rash, liver
problems, and low blood counts. These symptoms gradually go away over
several months. In rare instances, babies with neonatal lupus may have a
serious heart problem that slows down the natural rhythm of the heart.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, USA.