Types of Lupus
There are four different types of lupus, and while there is some overlap in symptoms, each affects the body differently. The type of lupus a person has will help the doctor determine the best way to manage the disease.
Systemic lupus erythematosus. Known as SLE for short, this form of lupus can affect nearly every part of the body, including the skin, joints, lungs, heart, kidneys, brain, and blood. Although SLE symptoms sometimes disappear, the disease doesn’t go away. And because there is no cure, doctors and people living with lupus need to work closely together to manage SLE.
Cutaneous lupus erythematosus. Also called discoid lupus, cutaneous lupus affects only the skin. Its main symptoms include crusty, scaling sores on the face, head, and other areas, which can leave lasting scars. Cigarette smoking and exposure to sunlight can make the condition worse. Some people with discoid lupus also can develop SLE.
Drug-induced lupus erythematosus. Certain prescription medications can cause drug-induced lupus. This can appear similar to SLE; however, it usually goes away once the medication is stopped. Some medications that may cause drug-induced lupus are procainamide and quinidine, which are used to treat heart arrhythmias, and hydralazine, which is used to treat high blood pressure.
Neonatal lupus. It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes a mother may pass lupus antibodies to her unborn baby. Following the birth, the baby may develop a rash and/or other symptoms that can last for several months and then disappear. In rare instances, babies with neonatal lupus also can have serious heart rhythm problems.
Lupus Impact Tracker is a trademark of Rush University Medical Center and the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.