Lupus erythematosus

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Lupus erythematosus
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 L93 (ILDS L93.010)
ICD-9 695.4

Lupus erythematosus is a name given to a collection of autoimmune diseases in which the human immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissues.[1] Symptoms of these diseases can affect many different body systems, including joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, heart, and lungs.


Lupus erythematosus may manifest as a systemic disease or in a purely cutaneous form also known as incomplete lupus erythematosus. Lupus has four main types:

Of these, systemic lupus erythematosus (also known as SLE) is the most common and serious form.

A more thorough categorization of lupus includes the following types:[2][3]

Signs and symptoms[edit]

Symptoms vary from person to person, and may come and go. Almost everyone with lupus has joint pain and swelling. Some develop arthritis. Frequently affected joints are the fingers, hands, wrists, and knees. Other common symptoms include:

  • chest pain when taking a deep breath
  • fatigue
  • fever with no other cause
  • general discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise)
  • hair loss
  • mouth sores
  • sensitivity to sunlight
  • skin rash - a "butterfly" rash in about half people with SLE.
  • swollen lymph nodes[4]


Photosensitivity is a known symptom of lupus, but its relationship to and influence on other aspects of the disease remain to be defined.[5] Causes of photosensitivity may include:

tumor necrosis factor alpha also seems to play a role in the development of photosensitivity.


Treatment consists primarily of immunosuppressive drugs (e.g., hydroxychloroquine and corticosteroids). In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first new drug for lupus in more than 50 years to be used in the US, belimumab.[6]



  • an estimated 5 million people worldwide have some form of lupus.[7]
  • 70% of lupus cases diagnosed are systemic lupus erythematosus.[7]
  • 20%of people with lupus will have a parent or sibling who already has lupus or may develop lupus.[7]
  • about 5% of the children born to individuals with lupus will develop the illness.[7]

United Kingdom[edit]

  • SLE affects UK females far more than males at a ratio of 7:1. In other words, females are seven times more likely to have the disease.[8]
  • The estimated number of UK females with SLE is 21,900, and the number of UK males with lupus is 3000—a total of 24,700, or 0.041% of the population.[8]
  • SLE is more common amongst certain ethnic groups than others, especially those of African origin.[8]

United States[edit]

Systemic lupus erythematosus:

  • occurs from infancy to old age, with peak occurrence between ages 15 and 40.[6]
  • affects U.S. females 6 to 10 times more often than males.[6]
  • yields limited prevalence data. Estimates vary and range from 1.8 to 7.6 cases per 100,000 persons per year in parts of the continental United States.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fitzpatrick, Thomas B.; Klauss Wolff; Wolff, Klaus Dieter; Johnson, Richard R.; Suurmond, Dick; Richard Suurmond (2005). Fitzpatrick's color atlas and synopsis of clinical dermatology. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical Pub. Division. ISBN 0-07-144019-4. 
  2. ^ James, William; Berger, Timothy; Elston, Dirk (2005). Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. (10th ed.). Saunders. Chapter 8. ISBN 0-7216-2921-0.
  3. ^ Rapini, Ronald P.; Bolognia, Jean L.; Jorizzo, Joseph L. (2007). Dermatology: 2-Volume Set. St. Louis: Mosby. ISBN 1-4160-2999-0. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Scheinfeld NS, Deleo V. Photosensitivity in lupus erythematosus. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2004;20:272-9. PMID 15379880
  6. ^ a b c d
  7. ^ a b c d
  8. ^ a b c