By Dr. Linda Amerson
Did you know lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood disease? It affects the immune system, causing damage to any organ system in the body. It is not contagious. We have serviced mainly discoid lupus patients, assisting with flair-ups of pruritus and reducing inflammation. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, women of color have the highest risk at 90 percent. The common age of development is between 15-44, during childbearing years. Unfortunately, lupus can be disabling and fatal, yet managed through aggressive medical treatment and lifestyle changes. Strokes, seizures, heart attacks, miscarriages and organ failure may occur.
Nationwide, there are 1.5 million Americans diagnosed, with an estimated 119,000 Texans. There are four types of Lupus:
• Systemic lupus erythematosus: causes inflammation in various parts of the body. Can range from mild to severe. Male and females may complain of alopecia.
• Cutaneous lupus erythematosus: limited to the skin. Lesions and rashes are common. The scalp may also be affected, also called ‘discoid’ lupus. Male and females complain about alopecia, patchy hair loss and scalp color pigmentation. Approximately 10 percent of consumers with cutaneous lupus will develop systemic lupus.
• Drug-induced lupus: prescription drugs are the cause of lupus-like symptoms.
• Neonatal lupus: a rare form that can affect infants of women who have lupus.
• Hydroxychloroquine has been talked about in the media over the past few months to treat COVID-19 patients. That debate I will not comment on. However, this medication has been used for many years for lupus, arthritis and malaria patients.
Listen to your body for any changes and talk to your medical doctor. Some of the common symptoms may include: anemia, extremely tired, weak or achy feeling for days, even after plenty of sleep, sudden rash on your skin, redness or rash across your nose and cheeks in the shape of a butterfly, unexplained fever higher than 100 F, seizures, convulsions, confusion, chest pain while taking deep breaths, swelling in both legs and ankles simultaneously, paleness in fingers, and/or toes, sores in your mouth or nose lasting more than a week, joint pain and swelling, protein in your urine, or depression to name a few. Eight support groups are available in Texas. Talk to your medical doctor for help.
Dr. Linda Amerson, Board Certified Trichologist, LA’s Hair & Scalp Clinic, Arlington, TX 76013 817-265-8854