I was diagnosed with Discord Lupus when I was pregnant with my third child, August 1999. I was taking medication for two years but have been off it since then. The symptoms that I have are rashes on the skin, which get worse in the sun, and joint pain and swelling. I don't know much about Lupus, and I want to know more. It concerns me that my doctor doesn't really know much about it, and my Aunt was diagnosed in 1986 and has had the seizers and all of the typical symptoms that most suffer. I would like to know if anyone has had the same kind of symptoms that I suffer and what comes next.
Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) is a chronic skin condition of sores with inflammation and scarring favoring the face, ears, and scalp and, at times, on other body areas. These lesions develop as a red, inflamed patch with a scaling and a crusty appearance. The center areas may appear lighter in color with a rim darker than the normal skin.
When lesions occur in hairy areas, such as the beard or scalp, permanent scarring and hair loss can occur. A small percentage of patients with discoid lupus can develop disease of the internal organs and/or develop SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus). If a doctor suspects that you have discoidal lupus, a skin biopsy needs to be done to confirm the diagnosis because other conditions can look like discoid lupus erythematosus. If the skin biopsy shows discoid lupus erythematosus, then further blood testing may be indicated.
The exact cause DLE is unknown, but it is thought to be autoimmune with the body's immune system incorrectly attacking normal skin. This condition tends to run in families. Females outnumber males with this condition 3 to 1. In some patients with discoid lupus erythematosus, sunlight and cigarette smoking may make the lesions flare.
Cortisone ointment applied to the skin in the involved areas will often improve the lesions and slow down their progression. Cortisone injections into the lesions will also treat discoid lupus and usually are more effective than the ointment form of cortisone. If the lesions are becoming unsightly and one really feel something more needs to be done, a drug named Plaquenil will often improve the condition. Patients on Plaquenil need eye exams once a year to prevent damage to the retina of the eye and periodic blood work. Closely related drugs (Aralen, Quinacrine) may be more effective but have more side effects. Other drugs, such as Accutane and Soriatane, can also be used.
Discoidal Lupus generally causes sensitivity to sunlight. You will need to wear a UVA blocking sunscreen daily and a hat while out doors. Follow-up with your doctor is important and necessary every six months to once a year to make sure the disease is not spreading to the internal organs and to minimize scarring.
Try going to the Lupus Foundation of America's web site and you will find much more information on Discoid Lupus!
I hope that this has been helpful. Best of Luck To You
Peace and Blessings