What is discoid lupus erythematosus?

Discoid Lupus Erythematosus is part of the spectrum of the LUPUS disease which affects only the skin. In contrast Systemic Lupus erythematous affects any organ of the body including the skin.

The condition is twice as more common in women than men and in those aged 20 - 40 years of age.

What causes discoid lupus erythematosus?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the body's immune system attacks its own organs and tissues. There is a genetic component to the illness and therefore family members of those with the condition may be at risk.

What are the symptoms?

  • Scaly, red rash
  • Typically forms in sun light exposed areas (e.g. common over scalp and face)
  • Hair loss
  • A single rash or multiple rashes which have an appearance of growing from the centre may later merge

How can discoid lupus erythematosus be treated?

  • Avoid / limit sun exposure
  • Stopping smoking helps
  • Topical steroids (Skin based steroid creams)
  • Oral medication (Anti-malarial medication have been proven to be useful, steroids and other drugs which suppress the immune systems)
  • Surgery to remove scarred lesions

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