Lupus erythematosus: a genetic pathology

Written by: Dr. Alberto Romero Maté
Edited by: Top Doctors®


Definition and typology

Lupus erythematosus is a heterogeneous group of diseases that are related by the development of an autoimmunity directed against different parts of the DNA of the own cells.


There are basically two types of Lupus erythematosus : the systemic and the cutaneous. At one end of the disease, systemic lupus may manifest itself as a mixture of various symptoms such as arthritis, kidney disorders, neurological disorders such as seizures or psychosis, anemia or reduction of defensive cells in the blood, cardiopulmonary disorders such as pleural effusions, heart failure. , digestive disorders such as hepatitis, pancreatitis, ocular manifestations such as conjunctivitis, skin lesions, oral ulcers.






The cutaneous lupus would be the other end of the spectrum of the disease with cutaneous lesions that usually appear in areas exposed to the sun (face, neck, forearms, hands) and that according to the shape and evolution are classified as acute, subacute or chronic.. The acute forms are those that are most related to the development of a systemic lupus.


Development of lupus and symptoms

It is necessary for an individual to have the right genes to develop the disease. In a genetically predisposed person, the disease may manifest itself at a certain moment due to the action of various factors such as viral infections, sun exposure, some drugs or tobacco. A priori, it is not possible to know which individuals have this predisposition to be able to take preventive measures.


The cutaneous symptoms of the disease are different according to the clinical form. Acute forms are characterized by lesions on reddish, hot plaques on both sides of the nose and cheeks. Frequently they are accompanied by fever, malaise, fatigue and can be part of a systemic form. Subacute forms produce lesions in the form of red, different-sized, non-desquamated bumps, usually distributed on the forehead, cheeks, nose and even neckline, back and forearms. The chronic forms produce reddish lesions, especially on the face and neck, which grow on the edge with hard scabs and leaving in the center areas whitish cicatricial.



To this day there is no cure. It is a disease that evolves in outbreaks and does not have to be active continuously. We do have effective treatments , both topical and oral that control the disease.


Mild forms can be treated with cortisone creams. The most severe cutaneous forms usually require oral treatment with anti-inflammatories. The most used are antimalarials, or even immunosuppressants. It is very important if the disease is cutaneous, protect from the sun, either with protective creams, or with appropriate clothes. Quitting smoking is another very beneficial aspect of the disease, whether cutaneous or systemic.


*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dr. Alberto Romero Maté

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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