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The Types of Lupus

July 2, 2020

Marisa Zeppieri

The Types of Lupus

Did you know there are different types of Lupus? There are 5, in fact, and each one has its own set of signs, symptoms, and treatment.

Let’s dig into each of the types of lupus, starting with Systemic Lupus:

SYSTEMIC LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS OR SLE

This is the most common type of Lupus, accounting for more than 70% of all Lupus cases. SLE can affect many different parts of the body, such as the brain, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys, skin or joints. 

Although it can affect people in their childhood or later in life, SLE is most often diagnosed between 15–45 years of age, and occurs more often in women than in men. It’s also more common in African Americans and Asians than people of other races.

SLE symptoms can range from very mild to serious, and as discussed in the What is Lupus article, the symptoms come and go during periods of flare ups and remission.

DISCOID LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS OR DLE

This type of Lupus affects the skin only. DLE usually produces a red raised, scaly rash on the skin, face, scalp or other parts of the body. The rash can become thick at times and may cause scarring. It can also appear as disks or in circular patterns. The rash can last anywhere from several days to weeks and may reoccur. Some patients that have DLE have SLE or may develop it later on.

DLE typically occurs most frequently in women in their 40s–50s, and like SLE, has a much higher occurrence rate in people of African American or Asian descent.

DRUG INDUCED LUPUS

This is a form of Lupus that is brought on by medications. There are many drugs that can cause it, including Hydralazine, Procainamide, Methyldopa, and d-Penicillamine, just to name a few. 

Symptoms of this type of Lupus are similar to SLE such as fever, rash, and pain, and usually go away within six months after the medication is discontinued.

NEONATAL LUPUS

This is a less common form of Lupus that occurs in a newborn of a mother who has Lupus. The newborn may present with liver issues, skin rashes or anemia.

In most cases, symptoms go away and will not cause permanent damage to the baby, however, some babies with Neonatal Lupus can be born with a severe heart defect. It is important to remember that most infants born to Lupus patients are healthy.

SUBACUTE CUTANEOUS LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS

SCLE is a type of Lupus that causes skin sores on areas that have been exposed to the sun. The sores typically do not scar, but they can create discoloration in your skin due to a loss of pigment.

The most frequently affected areas include the shoulders, forearms, neck, and upper torso. Approximately 50% of patients with SCLE have accompanying joint involvement.

In closing

If you are currently undergoing testing for lupus, ask your doctor which type of lupus he or she believes you might have, in addition to the level of severity, and treatment options for that specific type. 

Continue reading through the in-depth series:

#1: What is Lupus?

You’re here: The Types of Lupus

#3: Lupus Symptoms

#4: Lupus Diagnosis and Treatment

Here at Lupus Chick, our mission is to help you live a thriving Autoimmune Life

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