As a chronic autoimmune disease, lupus causes your immune system to attack healthy tissue instead of infected tissue or bacteria, which results in widespread inflammation and tissue damage. There are several types of lupus, and individuals with the disease typically experience “flare-ups” that vary in severity.  For those with lupus, it’s essential to know everything possible about the disease. Below, we will detail the four main types of lupus, their causes, and their symptoms.

The Four Types of Lupus

While the various forms of lupus share symptoms, there are also distinct differences. The four types of lupus include Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), cutaneous lupus, drug-induced lupus, and neonatal lupus. 

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

The most common lupus diagnosis is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, also referred to as SLE, and affects numerous parts of the body, such as joints, skin, brain, lungs, kidneys, and blood vessels. 

Cutaneous Lupus

Cutaneous lupus causes a rash or lesion on the skin, usually in response to exposure to sunlight. 

Drug-induced Lupus

Drug-induced lupus is caused by an overreaction to certain medications. Symptoms are similar to those of SLE but usually end once the medicine is discontinued.

Neonatal Lupus

Neonatal lupus is a rare condition that occurs when an infant acquires autoantibodies from its mother with SLE. Some infants may have a skin rash, low blood cell count, or liver problems, but these issues typically resolve within six months with no lasting side effects. Other more serious side effects (such as congenital heart block) are rare but persistent and require medical equipment.

What Causes These Types of Lupus?

While experts don’t yet know the cause of lupus, there is hard evidence that environmental factors, genetics, viruses, and infections contribute. Lupus most often affects females during puberty, their early 20s, and a spike around their 40s. 

What are the Symptoms of Lupus?

Lupus affects many parts of the body, including the kidneys, lungs, brain, and heart. The most common symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, and fever. A malar rash, which is a butterfly-shaped rash across one’s face, is the most distinctive symptom of lupus.

  • Fatigue
  • Sore or swollen joints 
  • Skin rashes
  • Fever
  • Blood clots
  • Weight loss
  • Hair loss
  • Anemia
  • Headaches
  • Stomach pain
  • Fluid around the heart or lungs
  • Mouth or nose sores
  • Kidney issues (including lupus nephritis)
  • Chest pains during deep breaths
  • Seizures, strokes, and other neurologic conditions
  • Raynaud’s Syndrome (swelling and color changes in the fingers, nose, and toes in response to the cold)

We’re Here To Help

At Advanced Rheumatology of Houston, we want you to live a happy, comfortable life. We can help relieve your pain and give you access to the tools and information you need to beat lupus!  As one of the top rheumatology practices in The Woodlands, Texas, we are committed to providing quality care. Let our experienced doctors aid you in living your best life with lupus. Call our clinic today at (281) 766-7886, or click here to learn more.