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Lupus comes with many different types of symptoms and one of the most prevalent rash eruptions. The “butterfly rash” spans across the face, just beneath the eyes, on the cheeks, and on the bridge of the nose. It got its name for obvious reasons. This rash can be in two forms flat or risen. The color can range from light to bright red and be a concern to the patient.
Another form of a lupus rash is called the discoid rash. This rash or lesion can be quite flaky and round in appearance, with a similar look to a coin. They are raised and typically come in patches. The discoid rash can appear anywhere on the body, but generally are found on or around the neck, chest, head or face. They can also have a scaled surface and can result in scars. Patients often complain that the rash is itchy and irritating, causing sensitivity.
The third type of lupus rash is the subacute cutaneous lesion. This rash is coined shaped, just as the discoid rash, but it does not leave behind any scars on the patient. The subacute cutaneous lesion is extremely photo sensitive. Patients are advised to refrain from as much ultraviolent rays as possible; as this causes the rash to worsen. This can include long periods of exposure to unshielded florescent lighting; make sure that they have a plastic cover. Diffusers can be purchased for in home use if the light causes any problems. Doctors will frequently suggest that lupus patients use at least a lotion with a SPF of 60 or more when going out in the sun. This limitation for being outdoors during summer months can be a difficulty for many with this condition resulting in depressed moods.
Lesions or rashes can also appear in other forms such as warts or a raised type rash on other areas of the body that is usually bright red, but without the scaling or chance of scars. Often with any of these rashes the hair follicles can become plugged and some see hair loss resulting.
Biopsies can offer some insight to doctors; it can disclose what type of lupus the patient has in order to make a correct diagnosis and if a lesion will leave a scar. This is helpful if a patient has lost any hair in the area. If a scar is not seen then medications can be provided to return hair growth.
Lupus diagnostic testing is tricky. Results of tests can give a positive on one day, then a negative; the next day. A physician has to access the patient’s medical history, close family history, current symptoms along with any current lab results. Unfortunately, doctors are unsure as to how a person gets lupus; although it is believed by some to be hereditary.
Around two thirds of those who have a form of lupus will also have a rash. What a lupus rash looks like will vary from patient to patient. It is highly recommended that if you or someone close to you suspects lupus to visit a doctor immediately for testing. It is possible to live with lupus and many do, but it presents challenges and lifestyle adjustments.