The exact cause of Lupus is still unknown as it can be anything from a skin rash to weight gain. It can damage organs and leave the sufferer feeling vulnerable. There are various symptoms to Lupus including muscle pain, tiredness and skin complaints. The immune system has to deal with these situations and as the immune system attacks the damaged cells it can also destroy healthy cells. Unfortunately the hair follicles are the last to receive the nutrients it requires for healthy hair growth, therefore hair loss can occur.

Lupus is not a disease that can be passed on from one person to another. It is more commonly found in women although the reason for this is not known. Today Lupus is a manageable disease that can come and go in a patient. At one time very little was known about it and those with progressive symptoms became very ill as it was unknown what the exact cause was. Today blood tests can be taken to determine the cause or causes. A full diagnosis is required and it can take time before hair loss related to Lupus is diagnosed. Any infection the body encounters starts the immune system creating antibodies as a defence. In general the condition is on going and may have several different causes at the same time. Often a rash or welts even blisters can appear on the skin as the nutrients this organ requires are not reaching the cells. This in turn can damage hair follicles and cause them to shrink. Eventually they can no longer hold the hair shaft and the hair starts to fall out. If the condition is diagnosed early enough and the appropriate medication given, hair loss can be slowed down and even stopped. Hair will eventually begin to grow back. However, in more serious cases the hair follicles have been too badly damaged or the scalp scarred and the possibility of regrowth is nil. This in itself can cause stress on top of the illness which is a well known cause of thinning hair. For about 40% of Lupus sufferers the condition a ‘butterfly rash’ appears on the cheeks and bridge of the nose which looks very red and is sensitive to the sun. The rash can become painful if in the sun for any length of time and along with thinning or loss of hair can be damaging to that person’s mental health. Hair loss could be caused by the medication that is given to bring the Lupus under control. Medication from over the counter should never be taken as the illness is so complex it could make the condition worse. This type of hair loss will resolve itself once the Lupus is brought under control.

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By Damien

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