Discoid lupus erythematosus is a chronic disease affecting the skin. The red inflammatory rash which usually appears on cheeks and nose are disk shaped, hence the word discoid. The exact cause of this disease is not known, but it is believed to be an autoimmune disease.
Discoid lupus erythematosus predominantly affects women than men between the ages of 20 to 40 years.
At least 10 percent of people suffering from discoid lupus may ultimately suffer from systemic lupus which is more serious condition affecting various organs of body. The disease is not curable but with medications, life style changes and diet, the symptoms can be well managed.
Causes Of Discoid Lupus Erythematosus
Though there is vast advancement in medical research, the exact etiology of discoid lupus erythematosus still remains unclear. It is difficult to pin point the exact cause but researchers believe discoid lupus is an autoimmune disease.
Discoid lupus is universal, but propensity for its development is much more in Native Americans, Asians, blacks of Caribbean, etc. Although the disease is present in both genders, it is found to be more prevalent in women. The average age for occurrence of this disease ranges between 20 to 40 years.
It is also found to be prevalent in families. Therefore genetic inheritance is also suspected to be the cause. People who smoke cigarettes are at greater risk of suffering from flare ups.
Symptoms Of Discoid Lupus Erythematosus
The symptoms of discoid lupus may be constant or there may be remission and flare-ups. The condition leads to inflammatory changes in skin and red rashes. The presenting features of discoid lupus are:
- Red scaly round rashes on skin, especially on sun exposed areas. The common site is nose, cheeks and neck. In severe cases they may be present on upper back and hands. The lesions rarely occur on palms and soles.
- It may also affect scalp leading to permanent scarred bald patch. The hair turns white.
- The red rash is peculiarly disk shaped and may ultimately lead to scarring and skin atrophy.
- There may be occasional itching; however in majority of cases the lesions are asymptomatic.
- Flare ups occur as a result of sun exposure.
- Discoid lupus lesions also appear in mouth and on lips leading to ulceration and scaling.
Natural Remedies For Discoid Lupus Erythematosus
A detailed medical history, clinical examination and different tests such as skin biopsy, blood tests help in diagnosing discoid lupus erythematosus. This condition is not curable permanently but the symptoms can be managed with medications, alteration in lifestyle and dietary changes.
- The first and foremost requirement to reduce its intensity and flare ups is to protect the skin from bright sunlight. Minimize going out in sunlight or use protective clothing when you are out in sun.
- Also apply sunscreen lotions while going out in sun. Use it even in winter or on cloudy atmosphere.
- Quit smoking.
- A healthy diet is valuable in alleviating symptoms of discoid lupus. Omega 3 fatty acid is effective in reducing inflammation naturally. Eat foods that are rich source of omega 3 fatty acids such as flaxseeds, fish and fish oil.
- Avoid spicy food or avoid foods which specifically aggravate the condition. These foods may vary from one patient to another.
- Follow up regularly with the medical health provider.
Aside from the above home measures, physicians recommend the following:
- Topical application of steroidal creams.
- If the lesions are thick and do not respond to topical application of cream and ointments, corticosteroid drugs are injected into the lesions.
- Anti malarial medications.
- In some cases doctors may use immunosuppressive agents.
Treating the symptoms in its early stage helps to reduce disfiguring scars.