Lupus butterfly rash is only one of many characteristics of systemic lupus erythematosus. It usually occurs first prior all other symptoms of the disease. The rash affects the face, to be more precise the nose and cheeks and forms a shape similar to butterfly hence the name 'butterfly rash'. Lupus butterfly rash occurs in more than half of all patients suffering from systemic form of the disease. The rash can be the only introduction to the disease and once it has occurred it is definite that the person will eventually develop systemic lupus erythematosus.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease which may affect many organs. The disease features with destruction of the affected organs by the antibodies. These antibodies simply cannot recognize cells as normal part of the body. Attack of the antibodies leads to structural and consequent functional damage of the affected organs. The most commonly affected organs in systemic lupus erythematosus are the kidneys, the brain, skin, joints, heart, liver, lungs and blood vessels.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is more frequent in women and usually occurs between the age of 15 and 50. This chronic disease requires serious treatment and if the patient does not respond to the therapy he/she may face complete loss of function of certain organs.
Lupus Butterfly Rash
Lupus butterfly rash was first noticed in 1840 by DR. Ferdinand von Hebra. The rash is caused by the damage of the tiny little blood vessels of the skin. The rash typically occurs after exposure to the sun. And once it has occurred if the person continues being in the sun the rash seems to get worse.
The rash may be mild or severe. In mild cases patients develop slightly blush-like rash while the severe form of rash may by scaly and intensively red. Lupus butterfly rash lasts from a few days to several months. It affects the nose and both cheeks and can be in the level of the skin or raise above it.
Treatment for Lupus Butterfly Rash
The rash can be alleviated by wearing a wide brimmed hat during sunny days. Patients are advised not to expose the affected skin to the sun. Patients are also supposed to stay away from silica, pesticides and mercury. Since, lupus butterfly rash is the only introduction to more serious conditions patients are supposed to be tested so that systemic lupus erythematosus can be either confirmed or ruled out.
Treatment for lupus rash is symptomatic. It is usually treated with non steroids anti-inflammatory drugs and antimalarial medications. Flare-ups are controlled by disease modifying antireumatic drugs. Severe form of lupus rash is treated with immunosuppressive medications.