Diet For Treating Discoid Lupus Erythematosus

Submitted by Kevin Pederson on September 27, 2012

Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE); defined in medical terms as an autoimmune disorder is known to target the skin. The condition occurs in the form of rash or lesions on the face and hands. The rash usually aggravates with exposure to sunlight. Hair loss and change in skin color can also take place with the disease.


Discoid lupus erythematosus affects more women than men, and it is often hereditary. In some cases, large scale lesions can occur on upper back, neck, and other areas of the person’s body.

Symptoms

  • Red, scaly or crusty lesions or patches on the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Scarring alopecia or bald patches if the rash develops on the scalp
  • Skin discoloration or scars
  • Joint pain
  • Itchy and small swelling on the skin (chilblains)
  • Reynard’s phenomenon (reduced blood circulation to different body parts)
  • Sun sensitivity

About 5% of discoid lupus erythematosus develops into systemic lupus erythematosus, which can affect any body organ or part.


This condition is more severe and can cause life-threatening symptoms.

  • Rapid breathing
  • Irregular heart beats
  • Blue or pale lips
  • Inability to urinate
  • Chest pain
  • Fast heart rate (tachycardia)

Causes

For years now it has been difficult to pinpoint the actual cause of discoid lupus erythematosus is unknown. Medically the condition is known to be one of the many autoimmune diseases and can cause rashes and inflammation on the skin. Family history of the disease is a risk factor and triggers such as cigarette smoke and sunlight exposure can result in discoid lupus erythematosus.

Treatment

The diagnosis of discoid lupus erythematosus includes a detailed physical examination and the study of the medical history of the patient.

Some diagnostic tests may be advised.
  • Blood tests
  • Biopsy

When considering treatment, your options may include corticosteroids to reduce the response of the immune system. Some other treatment methods that may be advised are as follows:

  • Topical application of steroid creams
  • Covering affected area to increase absorption
  • Cortisone injections, if the lesions do not respond favourably to creams
  • Anti-malarial medicines
  • Psoriasis medication
  • Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or oral steroids (if systemic lupus erythematosus is present)

Discoid lupus erythematosus can be controlled if the potential triggers are avoided or reduced. Some precautions which may ease the discomfort are as follows:

  • Apply sunscreen or sunblock
  • Quit smoking or limit exposure to cigarette smoke
  • Wear protective clothing and headgear when outside
  • Periodical follow ups with the medical specialist

Diet

A healthy diet may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of discoid lupus erythematosus. Some of the dietary considerations that may prove beneficial include the following.

  • Include omega-3: Omega 3 fatty acids-rich foods such as flaxseed, salmon, or fish oil may curb lupus induced inflammation.
  • DHEA: The hormone dehydropiandrosterone, if taken in a certain quantities (200mg) may alleviate the symptoms. However, this should be taken under expert medical supervision.
  • Know food sensitivities: Consult the doctor about specific foods that worsen the condition.

The discomfort and complications associated with discoid lupus erythematosus can be reduced considerably by following a treatment course charted by a qualified medical specialist.

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