Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Thus, there are many systemic health conditions that affect the appearance and the health of the skin. In particular, autoimmune diseases often show their symptoms within the skin. Lupus is among those. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, approximately 1.5 million Americans and five million people in the world have some type of lupus. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that is not generally well-understood, especially in terms of how you contract the disease and what your treatment options look like.
While there are a few different types of lupus, they can all lead to rashes, sores, thick scaly lesions or other unwanted symptoms within the skin. If you have lupus, your immune system is attacking healthy cells in your body as if it were a foreign agent or infection. This can affect and damage multiple organs in your body — including your skin!
Risk Factors and Symptoms of Lupus
We do not know the specific cause of lupus, but we do know that anyone can develop this autoimmune disease. However, women are more susceptible than men and African American, Hispanic, Native American and Asian women are at an increased risk over Caucasian women.
Of course, lupus doesn’t just affect the skin. If you have lupus, you may experience some the following symptoms:
• Muscle aches and pains
• Joint pain and swelling
• Skin rashes, most commonly found on the face
• Chest pain when breathing deeply
• Loss of hair
• Pale fingers and toes
• Sun sensitivity
• Mouth sores
• Extreme fatigue
• Leg or eye swelling
• Swollen glands
Your lupus symptoms may not be present all the time. Like other autoimmune disorders, you may suffer from lupus flare-ups. It is important that you discuss with your physician as well as your dermatologist about ways you can manage your lupus symptoms and reduce the damage the disease does to your skin. At Olansky Dermatology, we may not be able to cure your lupus, but we can certainly offer treatments to make its effects on your skin less noticeable and more tolerable. Call today to learn more about our excellence in family skin care!