Lupus . . . More Complex Skin Conditions

Other conditions that can occur with lupus include:

Calcinosis is caused by a buildup of calcium deposits under the skin. These deposits can be painful, and may leak a white liquid. Calcinosis can develop from a reaction to steroid injections or as a result of kidney failure.

Cutaneous Vasculitis Lesions occur when inflammation damages the blood vessels in the skin. The lesions typically appear as small, red-purple spots and bumps on the lower legs; occasionally, larger knots (nodules) and ulcers can develop. Vasculitis lesions can also appear in the form of raised sores or as small red or purple lines or spots in the fingernail folds or on the tips of the fingers. In some cases cutaneous vasculitis can result in significant damage to skin tissue. Areas of dead skin can appear as sores or small black spots at the ends of the fingers or around the fingernails and toes, causing gangrene (death of soft tissues due to loss of blood supply).

Hair Loss can occur for other reasons besides scarring on the scalp. Severe systemic lupus may cause a temporary pattern of hair loss that is then replaced by new hair growth. A severe lupus flare can result in fragile hair that breaks easily. Such broken hairs at the edge of the scalp give a characteristic ragged appearance termed “lupus hair.”

Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition in which the blood vessels in the hands and feet go into spasm, causing restricted blood flow. Lupus related Raynaud’s usually results from inflammation of nerves or blood vessels and most often happens in cold temperatures, causing the tips of the fingers or toes to turn red, white, or blue. Pain, numbness, or tingling may also occur.

Livedo Reticularis and Palmar Erythema are caused by abnormal rates of blood flow through the capillaries and small arteries. Signs (what you see) include a bluish, lace like mottling under the skin, especially on the legs giving a “fishnet” appearance. Like Raynaud’s  livedo reticularis and palmar erythema tend to be worse in cold weather.

Mucosal Ulcerations are sores in the mouth or nose or, less often, in lining of vaginal tissue. These ulcers can be caused by both cutaneous lupus and systemic lupus. It is important to differentiate lupus ulcers from herpes lesions or cold sores, which may be brought on by the use of immunosuppressive drugs.

Petechiae (pah-TEE-kee-eye) are tiny red spots on the skin, especially on the lower legs, that result from low numbers of platelet in your blood, a condition called thrombocytopenia.

Sourced from: Lupus Foundation of America
www.lupus.org