Subcutaneous Lupus Erythematosus (SCLE) is a type of autoimmune disease that affects the skin. It is a subtype of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which is a more widespread and serious form of lupus. The term “subcutaneous” refers to the skin and “lupus erythematosus” refers to the type of autoimmune disorder.
SCLE primarily affects women of childbearing age, although it can occur in both men and women of any age. The onset of SCLE symptoms is usually between the ages of 20 and 50.
SCLE is characterized by skin rashes and lesions that are often annular (ring-shaped), scaly, and may have central clearing. These rashes and lesions can occur anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the upper back, chest, neck, and arms. The skin lesions may be accompanied by other symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue, and sensitivity to sunlight.
There are several different types of SCLE, each with its own distinct set of symptoms and characteristics. Some of the most common types of SCLE include:
- Annular SCLE: This is the most common type of SCLE and is characterized by annular, scaly, and erythematous (red) rashes on the skin.
- Papulosquamous SCLE: This type of SCLE is characterized by the presence of papules (small raised bumps) and scales on the skin.
- Psoriasiform SCLE: This type of SCLE is characterized by the presence of skin lesions that resemble psoriasis, a common skin condition.
- Hypertrophic SCLE: This type of SCLE is characterized by the presence of thick, raised plaques on the skin.
- Scarring Alopecia SCLE: This type of SCLE is characterized by the presence of hair loss and scarring on the scalp.
The exact cause of SCLE is unknown, but there are several known risk factors and underlying conditions that may contribute to its development. Here are the possible causes of SCLE:
- Genetics: There may be a genetic predisposition to developing SCLE, as the disease tends to run in families.
- Hormonal imbalances: Hormonal imbalances, such as those that occur during pregnancy or menopause, may trigger SCLE or worsen its symptoms.
- Sun exposure: Sun exposure can trigger flare-ups of SCLE, as ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can damage the skin and trigger an autoimmune response.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as blood pressure drugs and anticonvulsants, have been linked to the development of SCLE.
- Infections: Certain infections, such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the hepatitis B and C viruses, can increase the risk of developing SCLE.
- Environmental triggers: Exposure to environmental triggers, such as chemicals, pollution, and other toxins, may contribute to the development of SCLE.
- Smoking: Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of developing SCLE.
- Stress: Stress can trigger SCLE or worsen its symptoms, as stress can weaken the immune system and trigger an autoimmune response.
- Vitamin D deficiency: Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating the immune system, and a deficiency of this vitamin may contribute to the development of SCLE.
- Immune system dysfunction: A dysfunction in the immune system, such as an overactive immune response or an inability to regulate the immune response, may contribute to the development of SCLE.
- Inflammation: Chronic inflammation may contribute to the development of SCLE, as it can weaken the immune system and trigger an autoimmune response.
- Malnutrition: Malnutrition, such as a deficiency in essential nutrients like iron, calcium, and vitamin C, may contribute to the development of SCLE.
- Obesity: Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of developing SCLE, as excess weight can increase inflammation and weaken the immune system.
- Alcohol consumption: Heavy alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk of developing SCLE, as alcohol can weaken the immune system and trigger an autoimmune response.
- Sleep deprivation: Sleep deprivation can weaken the immune system and trigger an autoimmune response, which may contribute to the development of SCLE.
- Chronic illness: Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease, have been linked to an increased risk of developing SCLE.
- Age: SCLE is more common in middle-aged and elderly individuals, and the risk of developing the disease increases with age.
- Gender: Women are more likely to develop SCLE than men, likely due to hormonal imbalances and differences in the immune system.
- Ethnicity: SCLE is more common in certain ethnic populations, such as Hispanic and Asian populations, which may suggest a genetic component to the disease.
- Previous skin conditions: Individuals with a history of skin conditions, such as psoriasis and dermatitis, may be at an increased risk of developing SCLE.
It is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation, rashes, and skin damage. Here are 20 common symptoms of SCLE:
- Rashes: SCLE causes distinct rashes that may appear on the skin as red, scaly, and raised patches. These rashes are typically circular or disk-shaped and may itch or be painful.
- Photosensitivity: People with SCLE are often sensitive to sunlight, and exposure to the sun can cause rashes or skin damage to worsen.
- Discoid lesions: This is a type of rash that appears as raised, red, scaly, and disk-shaped patches. These lesions can be itchy and may develop into scars if left untreated.
- Annular lesions: This type of rash appears as raised, circular, scaly patches that have clear centers. These lesions can be itchy and may spread over time.
- Mucosal involvement: SCLE can also affect the mucous membranes, causing oral ulcers, dry mouth, and dry eyes.
- Joint pain and stiffness: SCLE can cause joint pain and stiffness, especially in the hands, feet, and knees.
- Fatigue: People with SCLE often experience fatigue, which can be debilitating and affect their quality of life.
- Muscle pain: SCLE can cause muscle pain, which can be severe and affect a person’s ability to perform daily activities.
- Fever: People with SCLE may experience low-grade fevers, which can indicate inflammation and active disease.
- Nerve problems: SCLE can cause nerve problems, such as numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in the hands and feet.
- Depression and anxiety: People with SCLE often experience depression and anxiety, which can affect their mental health and quality of life.
- Hair loss: Hair loss can occur as a result of SCLE, which can be distressing for those affected.
- Swelling: Swelling can occur in the joints, face, and other parts of the body in people with SCLE.
- Raynaud’s phenomenon: This is a condition in which the blood vessels in the fingers and toes constrict in response to cold temperatures or stress, causing numbness, tingling, and pain.
- Malar rash: This is a rash that appears on the cheeks and nose, and can be triggered by exposure to the sun.
- Mouth sores: SCLE can cause mouth sores, which can be painful and make it difficult to eat and drink.
- Nail changes: People with SCLE may experience changes in their nails, such as ridges, discoloration, or separation from the nail bed.
- Dry skin: Dry skin is a common symptom of SCLE, which can be itchy and uncomfortable.
- Skin scarring: SCLE can cause skin scarring, which can be permanent and affect a person’s appearance.
- Uveitis: SCLE can cause inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye, which can cause pain, redness, and vision problems.
These are the common symptoms of SCLE. It is important to note that everyone’s experience with SCLE is unique, and some people may experience more or fewer symptoms than others. If you suspect that you have SCLE, it is important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Here are diagnoses and tests that can be used to diagnose SCLE:
- Physical examination: A doctor will perform a thorough physical examination to assess the skin and other symptoms of SCLE. They will look for specific skin lesions, such as scaly patches, red rashes, and discoloration.
- Medical history: The doctor will ask about the patient’s medical history, including any past or current illnesses, medications, and family history of autoimmune diseases.
- Blood tests: Blood tests are often used to diagnose SCLE. These tests can measure levels of certain proteins, such as antinuclear antibodies (ANA) and anti-Ro/SSA antibodies, which are markers of lupus.
- Skin biopsy: A skin biopsy is a procedure where a small sample of skin is removed and examined under a microscope. This can help to confirm a diagnosis of SCLE and rule out other conditions.
- Photo documentation: The doctor may take photos of the skin lesions for documentation and comparison over time.
- ANA test: ANA is a blood test that measures the level of antinuclear antibodies in the blood. A positive ANA test result is often indicative of lupus, but it can also be positive in other autoimmune diseases.
- Anti-Ro/SSA antibodies test: Anti-Ro/SSA antibodies are specific markers of SCLE. A positive test result for these antibodies is highly indicative of SCLE.
- Anti-dsDNA test: Anti-dsDNA antibodies are another marker of lupus. A positive test result for these antibodies can indicate lupus, but it is not specific to SCLE.
- Complement levels: Complement levels can also be measured in a blood test. Low complement levels can indicate the presence of lupus.
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) test: The ESR test measures the rate at which red blood cells settle to the bottom of a test tube. An elevated ESR can indicate inflammation, which is a common feature of lupus.
- C-reactive protein (CRP) test: The CRP test measures the level of CRP, a protein that is produced by the liver in response to inflammation. An elevated CRP can indicate inflammation, which is a common feature of lupus.
- Complete blood count (CBC): The CBC test measures various components of the blood, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Changes in these components can indicate the presence of lupus.
- Chest X-ray: A chest X-ray can be used to check for signs of lung involvement in SCLE, such as pleural effusion or interstitial lung disease.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG): An ECG can be used to check for any heart problems that may be associated with lupus.
- Kidney function tests: Kidney function tests can be used to check for any kidney problems that may be associated with lupus.
- Liver function tests: Liver function tests can be used to check for any liver problems that may be associated with lupus.
Subcutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE) is a form of lupus that affects the skin and can cause rashes, scaling, and other skin lesions. The following are 20 treatments that have been used to manage SCLE:
- Topical corticosteroids: Corticosteroids are a type of anti-inflammatory medication that can be applied directly to the skin to reduce redness and itching.
- Topical calcineurin inhibitors: Tacrolimus and pimecrolimus are topical medications that can be used to treat SCLE by suppressing the immune system and reducing inflammation.
- Topical retinoids: Topical retinoids such as tretinoin can help to reduce skin inflammation and improve the appearance of skin lesions.
- Topical antimalarials: Antimalarials such as hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can be applied to the skin to help reduce inflammation and improve the appearance of skin lesions.
- Topical calcipotriol: Calcipotriol is a form of vitamin D that can be applied to the skin to help reduce inflammation and improve the appearance of skin lesions.
- Topical imiquimod: Imiquimod is a topical immune response modifier that can be used to treat SCLE by stimulating the immune system to fight the underlying cause of the condition.
- Systemic corticosteroids: Corticosteroids can be taken orally or intravenously to reduce inflammation throughout the body and help manage SCLE.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen can be used to reduce pain and swelling associated with SCLE.
- Antimalarials: Antimalarials such as hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can be taken orally to help reduce inflammation and improve the appearance of skin lesions.
- Immunosuppressive drugs: Drugs such as methotrexate and azathioprine can be used to suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation in SCLE.
- Biologic agents: Biologic agents such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors and interleukin (IL) inhibitors can be used to target specific parts of the immune system and reduce inflammation in SCLE.
- Phototherapy: Phototherapy involves exposing the skin to controlled amounts of ultraviolet (UV) light to help reduce inflammation and improve the appearance of skin lesions.
- Excimer laser: The excimer laser is a type of laser that can be used to treat SCLE by targeting specific areas of skin with high-intensity UV light.
- Cryotherapy: Cryotherapy involves exposing the skin to extremely cold temperatures to help reduce inflammation and improve the appearance of skin lesions.
- Microdermabrasion: Microdermabrasion is a type of exfoliation that can help improve the appearance of skin lesions by removing dead skin cells and promoting new skin growth.
- Chemical peels: Chemical peels involve the application of a chemical solution to the skin to remove the outer layer and promote new skin growth.
- Dermabrasion: Dermabrasion involves the use of a rotating brush or sanding device to remove the outer layer of skin and improve the appearance of skin lesions.
- Laser therapy: Laser therapy involves the use of a laser to target specific areas of skin and improve the appearance of skin lesions.
- Surgical excision: In some cases, surgical excision may be necessary to remove