Brief Overview of Lupus Erythematosus
By Mubeen Scind
The immune system of humans can sometimes behave in an abnormal manner. It may react in an inappropriate manner even against the normal elements in the body which may be necessary for our body. The immune system can become very sensitive and start killing the cells and tissues which are normal and healthy. Such a behavior of the immune system gives rise to autoimmune diseases. The autoimmune diseases arising from the sensitive behavior of the immune system are collectively called Lupus erythematosus.
An example of an autoimmune disease is Autoimmune thyroiditis. This is a condition where the thyroid glands and its related hormones are mistakenly interpreted as dangerous for the body by the immune system. It then releases antibodies to kill the cells of the thyroid gland. This can lead to conditions like Hypothyroidism. Another example of an autoimmune disease is the Graves' disease. It again attacks the thyroid region which can lead to hyperthyroidism. There are lots of such autoimmune diseases which come under the category called Lupus erythematosus.
There are 4 types of Lupus erythematosus which include systemic, discoid, drug-induced and neonatal lupus erythematosus.
Of all the 4 types, the systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is considered to be the most complicated type. SLE can affect any body part. But the most common ones that get affected are the lungs, heart, the kidneys and importantly the nervous system. SLE can lead to tissue inflammation and damage in the affected body part. It is known to affect women more than men. It is also known to affect non-European people more than the European ones.
Discoid lupus erythematosus or DLE mainly affects your skin. It causes inflammatory sores on your skin. It can cause scars on your face and ears. Sometimes, it can affect other regions as well. DLE is further categorized into localized DLE, generalized DLE and childhood DLE.
Drug-induced lupus erythematosus (DILE) results from over-usage of certain kinds of drugs. These are the drugs which impact the immune system. They alter the normal behavior of the immune system. Some of the common drugs that can induce DILE include procainamide, hydralazine and isoniazid. DILE can also affect any part of your body just like SLE. If you stop using the drugs that cause DILE, then there are chances for the symptoms to be reduced.
Neonatal lupus erythematosus (NLE) occurs in infants if the mother suffers from SLE. It can lead to rashes typical of DLE or sometimes can lead to something serious like blockage of the heart.