Lupus/Lupus and skin rash
QUESTION: Hi Carla
Thank you for answering in advance.
I have a sort of strange question. Can Lupus cause a intense heat/burn with a mildly raised, but not red rash? A few weeks ago, i started experiencing a minor skin irritation (mostly joint pain and itchy skin. It has now progressed to a longer, usually in the afternoon, intense extremely hot to the touch burn/itch (we used one of those forehead therometers on my back and it read 103 degrees) all over my back. It is as if someone poured red hot oil inside my skin. The heat is immediately followed by an intense itch and non red, but raised rash. After about 20 minutes it will subside to a tolerable rashy, itchy feeling. I ask about Lupus because of a visit to my GP where my major complaint was a butterfly shaped rash across my face and painful joints. He ordered bloodwork which showed my ANA was high as were other SLE markers. My GP was concerned enough to refer me to a rheumotologist who wasn't sure what i had, and wasn't willing to make a diagnosis one way or another. He ordered more blood tests, but they were inconclusive, so he advised me to wait for another episode. i don't have any experience with this sort of problem so i don't know if this could be a manifestation of Lupus, or something else.
It's funny when i get the butterfly on my face rash, it is usually accompanied by significant joint pain, but this time no obvious face rash, just stiff, achy joints and this crazy burn itch thing. Any input would be really greatly appreciated.
thank you so much
Well, yes lupus can cause rashes but yours sounds like something else is going on.
Like an infection or an allergy. Have you changed detergents recently, or anything else in your environment?
You might want to look at going to a functional medicine doctor, or a more holistic doctor. A mainstream doctor often responds with "come back when you're really sick then we can figure it out." And then they prescribe a drug, probably a steroid in your case, to stop the itching.
But a holistic doctor or a functional medicine doctor will try to really get to the root of the problem and put your body back in balance.
Here's a starting point:
Feel free to write back with any further questions or developments. I'll help if I am able!
The Singing Patient: Author, Speaker, Funny Medical Songs
- Carla's book "How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This?"
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thanks for your reply. No, i hadn't changed detergent - i use a hypoallergic brand which works well for me. I will definitely try a functional doctor, as i have had regular drs tell me exactly what you said. The Rheumatologist I went to actually did prescribe a steroid which i was extremely hesitant to take as i am a in remission diabetic -i worked HARD to get my A1C under 5.6 by changing my diet, lifestyle and exercise regime- and was worried it would shoot up my glucose levels. I never did take them, and after i posted my question, i realized that the burny itch went away rather quickly and was replaced with the butterfly rash and severe joint pain i've had in the past. I tried B12 which seemed to help abit (thanks for that - i read it on another of your answers and figured it couldn't hurt). While it didn't totally remove the pain, it did back it off enough to make it tolerable. If this is a "bloom" episode, or whatever it is - is it normal for the symptoms to ease up and then get hyper active?
thanks again so much for your help with this.
By "bloom" I assume you mean "flare." What happens with that is: the lupus flares up, is controlled by drugs then stays in remission for a while- for most people (some people have such severe lupus they can't get it completely under control with any drugs).
50-60 years ago there was no treatment for lupus. And if you had severe systemic lupus (lupus affecting organs as opposed to only joints and skin), you were only expected to live 5 years. The life expectancy is now a normal life span, assuming you are willing to use prescriptions when necessary. In my experience, if it it actually lupus, it does not go away by itself, the way a cold or bronchitis does. I tried doing nothing, and just got sicker and sicker.
I understand your concerns about the steroids aggravating the diabetes- that is a very valid concern. At this point I would consider one or both of the following:
- prescription route: placquenil, which is an anti-malarial (it's also available generic and therefore cheap). It does not have the same dangers as steroids. It can affect your eyes, so you have to get regular exams if you're taking this drug. It helps a lot with rashes and joint pain.
- natural route: test for food allergies. this can be done by a blood test (not the pin prick test, which finds immediate allergies, but a blood test that checks for delayed food allergies, where symptoms can show up as late as 3 days after eating an offending food). Or you can figure it out yourself with an elimination diet. All the info you need on this is in this article (don't worry about the title having the word "fat" in it; the article is about food allergies in general, and is packed with great info): http://drhyman.com/blog/2012/02/22/how-hidden-food-sensitivities-make-you-fat/
I am gluten-free and dairy-free (and also no eggs or artificial sweeteners) and it really keeps the lupus under control for me. I am not on any lupus drugs right now, and I was on a LOT of prednisone, 3 times, for 9-12 months each time. Each time I would fix my diet, and then eventually fall off the wagon, eat the foods I shouldn't be eating, and eventually get very sick again. Finally I got tired of the illness cycle enough to break my denial about my food allergies and have stuck with it this time. Haven't needed lupus drugs for 6 years now.
The Singing Patient: Author, Speaker, Humorous Songwriter and Entertainer
- Carla's book "How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This?"