What are the 4 types of Lupus? Lupus is a disease which affects roughly 1.5 million Americans, this amounts to about 1/2000 people. Ninety percent of sufferers are women and most develop it between the ages of 15 and 45. Lupus treatments continue to improve and there are four types, of which the most common is systemic.

What Are the 4 Types of Lupus?

Lupus is a disease of the immune system which causes chronic inflammation of joints, tissues, and organs. There is no cure, but with the right treatments by a skilled rheumatologist, the symptoms can be managed and sufferers can live a normal lifespan. There are four key types of Lupus. These are:

  1. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus – the most common form, Systemic Lupus may be either severe or mild.
  2. Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus – a form which affects only the skin causing lesions and rashes.
  3. Drug-Induced Lupus Erythematosus – Not exactly Lupus, this is a disease which mimics Lupus and is caused by some prescription drugs.
  4. Neonatal Lupus – Also not a true form of the disease, this is a condition which is rare, but affects infants of women with Lupus.

What is the Difference Between Lupus and Systemic Lupus?

Typically, when someone states they have Lupus, they are referring to the first, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. However, because Lupus can refer to any of the above conditions, of which two are not really Lupus, use of the term can mean any of the four types.

The remainder of this article will address Systemic Lupus because this is by far the most common form.

What is Usually the First Sign of Lupus?

While there is no specific “1st sign” of Lupus, the most commonly seen early signs include fatigue, fever, and hair loss. This is because Lupus attacks the organs, the bodily systems which keep people functioning and living normal lives. Fever and fatigue are common signs of disease in the body, so these are generally noticed first. However, many ignore these signs until certain symptoms of Lupus become manifest. There are generally 11 key symptoms of Lupus.

What are the 11 Key Signs of Lupus?

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has identified 11 key symptoms of Systemic Lupus. Not every patient with Lupus will experience all of these symptoms, but most will suffer from several. The 11 signs of Lupus are:

  1. Slightly swollen red patches on the skin
  2. Light sensitivity
  3. Butterfly rash (shape)
  4. Mouth or nose ulcers
  5. Arthritis in at least two joints along with tenderness and swelling
  6. High protein levels in the urine
  7. Nerve problems including seizures
  8. Inflammation in the lung or heart linings (pleura)
  9. Low blood cell count
  10. Specific antibodies in the blood
  11. ANA test results showing the presence of an overabundance of antinuclear antibodies

How is Lupus Diagnosed?

Given that Lupus can manifest a variety of symptoms and each individual is different, it could take some time for a physician to make a diagnosis. To help, the American College of Rheumatology has created classification criteria which guides healthcare professionals. The ACR recommends that if four of the 11 signs and symptoms are present, Lupus is the most likely cause.

One of the first lab tests a physician will often order to determine whether Lupus is the cause of symptoms is the ANA test. ANA simply means Antinuclear Antibody test and is also called a Fluorescent Antinuclear Antibody or Antinuclear Antibody Screen. While a person can test positive without any other symptoms, a negative test will rule out Lupus. Thus, in conjunction with three other symptoms or signs, the ANA will permit your physician or Rheumatologist to diagnose Lupus.

Do You Think You May Have Lupus?

If you have been told by your primary care physician that you may have Lupus or have been diagnosed, the Rheumatologists at Kymera Independent Physicians can help. With more than 22 years-experience helping patients in Southeastern New Mexico, Kymera provides hospital-level care in a clinic setting.

If you believe you need to see a Rheumatologist for Systemic Lupus, request an appointment now for a better healthcare experience.

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