Frequently Asked Questions About Lupus

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lupus faq

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  • Lupus pernio is actually a type of sarcoidosis, wherein tiny groups of inflammatory cells or granulomas develop in various body parts
  • Lupus is called “the great imitator” because it’s confused with other illnesses

Q: Is lupus contagious?

A: No. Lupus isn't contagious,1 since it's an autoimmune disease that targets areas of the body, particularly the skin, joints and organs. This disease prompts the body's autoimmune system to attack healthy tissue.2

Q: What happens during a lupus flare-up?

A: Lupus flare-ups occur when symptoms appear or worsen,3 usually without warning. The flare-ups can trigger exhaustion, weight loss, fever and anemia.4

Q: What is lupus pernio?

A: Lupus pernio is actually a type of sarcoidosis, wherein tiny groups of inflammatory cells or granulomas develop in various body parts.5 It is also called Besnier-Tenneson syndrome .6

Q: Are mouth sores a lupus symptom?

A: Yes. Painless mouth sores or ulcers that appear on the roof of the mouth are symptoms of lupus ,7,8 alongside other hallmarks like:9

  • Low-grade fever
  • Joint stiffness in the morning
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

Q: Does lupus cause hair loss?

A: Yes. Dr. April Chang-Miller, speaking for the Mayo Clinic, says that lupus triggers widespread inflammation that spreads to the face and scalp. This causes the gradual thinning out of hair on the scalp. Some people lose clumps of hair, or experience eyebrow, eyelash, beard and body hair loss. Fortunately, the hair could grow back once lupus is treated.10

However, if round (discoid) lesions develop on the scalp, these can scar hair follicles and possibly result in permanent hair loss. Lupus hair, a condition wherein the scalp along the hairline becomes fragile and breaks off easily, may also occur.

Q: How is lupus diagnosed? Can testing detect levels of lupus anticoagulants?

A: Multiple tests are needed to fully diagnose lupus and help prevent an incorrect diagnosis. Lupus is called "the great imitator" as it's often confused with other illnesses.11 Antibody tests are done to help look for abnormalities in antibody protein production, alongside a thorough explanation of lupus-specific indicators by the patient to their physician to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

The antiphospholipid (APL) antibody test is one of the many examinations that a lupus patient may undergo.12 This aims to detect the presence of lupus anticoagulants that attack phospholipids (substances that are vital to cell membrane construction13) and potentially cause excessive blood clot formation,14 especially among those with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).15

Other antibody tests for lupus include the anti-dSDNA test, antinuclear antibody (ANA) test, anti-Sm test, anti-RNP test and complete blood cell count. In some cases, a urine test, echocardiogram and/or a chest X-ray might be done as well.16,17


Lupus: Introduction

What Is Lupus?

Lupus Types

Lupus Symptoms

Lupus Causes

Lupus Treatment

Lupus Remedies

Lupus Prevention

Lupus Diet

Is Lupus Hereditary?

Lupus Diagnosis

Living with Lupus

Lupus FAQ

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