What is the connection between rosacea and lupus?

Rosacea and lupus are not linked in their etiology, but many lupus patients are initially diagnosed with rosacea. The main reason for this is that lupus patients often exhibit a noticeable skin rash that has many of the characteristics of a flare caused by rosacea. Since rosacea primarily affects the face, patients who do not have many of the other more common lupus symptoms may begin rosacea treatments until additional symptoms appear.

The similarities between rosacea and lupus tend to stop with the facial rash or swelling. Rosacea is a skin condition that causes redness, swelling, itching, and flushing, most often occurring on the face. Other symptoms may include prominent veins, redness of the nose accompanied by a bulbous or round shape, and a tendency to blush more often than most. These symptoms often occur in cycles, with certain activities or situations causing them to flare.

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that can cause a wide range of symptoms. They can include a butterfly-shaped rash on the face, fatigue, chronic pain, organ malfunction, and joint stiffness. It is a form or arthritis, and it causes many of the same symptoms as the more common variations of the condition. Medication can help slow the progression of symptoms, and some patients go into remission and remain symptom-free for many years.

There is a danger in doctors misdiagnosing rosacea and lupus in some patients. Since lupus sometimes affects multiple organ systems in the body, not treating the condition properly could cause long-term problems. Patients may also endure severe pain and discomfort for longer than necessary, as prescription medications can often relieve many lupus symptoms.

Medical professionals and patients can work together to enable proper diagnosis of rosacea and lupus. Patients should be aware of additional symptoms to be aware of in order to provide their doctors with an accurate description of the changes they are experiencing. Additionally, since rosacea symptoms tend to have specific triggers, patients may want to pay particular attention to whether or not their facial rash occurs in correlation with certain activity events or is a constant presence. Common triggers for rosacea are exposure to sunlight, stress, hot weather, and certain foods such as alcohol and spicy dishes.

Lupus patients generally must present with several common symptoms before a diagnosis is made. That said, some doctors will start treatment before this criterion is met if symptoms don't improve over time, even without the development of new ones. Rosacea patients should experience some periods of remission or lessening of symptom severity, so if this does not occur or if additional symptoms begin, a physician should be notified.

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