What is cutaneous lupus?
Cutaneous lupus occurs when the immune system attacks only skin tissue, leading to painful sores and rashes on the face, neck, arms, legs, and ears. Cutaneous lupus can occur alongside systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or as a precursor to SLE. Researchers are still trying to determine whether it’s possible to have cutaneous lupus and never develop SLE. There are three types of cutaneous lupus: subacute cutaneous lupus, acute cutaneous lupus, and chronic cutaneous lupus. Differences between the three include the locations and types of lesions along with other factors.
Women and people of color are at the highest risk of developing cutaneous lupus, and the disease onset most often occurs between the ages of 20 and 50 years old.
What is lupus?
Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus
Acute cutaneous lupus
Chronic cutaneous lupus
It’s important to note that cancer develops at the site of a chronic cutaneous lesion, so avoiding direct exposure to the sun, using sunscreen consistently, and monitoring lesions for changes is key for patients with chronic cutaneous lupus.
Systemic lupus erythematosus can range from minor to life-threatening depending on the complications that result from the disease. The most serious complications that can occur include inflammation in the blood vessels of the brain, kidney inflammation, and coronary artery disease, all of which can increase the risk of life-threatening conditions like heart, stroke, and kidney failure.
Diagnosis of cutaneous lupus