(BlackDoctor.org) — What’s the cause of the well-known scars on R&B star Seal’s face?
Seal has a form of lupus called discoid lupus erythematosis (DLE), a form of lupus that mainly attacks the skin and usually affects young people. Intense inflammation develops in the skin, particularly in sun-exposed areas. If not treated aggressively with sun protection and anti-inflammatory medicines, “Seal-style” scarring can result.
Lupus is a condition where the immune cells attack various body tissues.
Seal has revealed in interviews that he was afflicted with this syndrome as a teen. Not only did DLE cause Seal’s cheek scars, but he had significant scalp involvement, causing hair loss. Thankfully, the singer’s condition has been in remission for years, though his scars remain.
DLE: What You Need To Know
DLE is a chronic skin condition characterized by inflammation and scarring type skin lesions which occur on the face, ears, scalp and, at times, on other body areas. Discoid means “coin-shaped,” and these lesions develop as an round, raised, inflamed growths with a scaly, crusty, warty-like appearance. The center areas may appear lighter in color with a rim darker than the normal skin.As mentioned before, permanent scarring can generally be prevented by early treatment.
DLE can be divided into three different types:
• Localized discoid lupus erythematosus typically presents with skin lesions localized above the neck, with favored sites being the scalp, bridge of nose, cheeks, lower lip, and ears.
• Generalized discoid lupus erythematosus is less common than localized discoid lupus erythematosus, with all degrees of severity being encountered, most often affecting the thorax and upper extremities in addition to the head and neck.
• Childhood discoid lupus erythematosus lacks a female predominance, has a low frequency of photosensitivity, and a higher progression to systemic lupus erythematosus, but in most other respects, the clinical presentation and course is similar to those in adults.
A small percentage of people, about 5%, with DLE will develop systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which in addition to the skin can also involve other organs of the body.
What Causes Lupus?
The cause of lupus is unknown. However, there appears to be something that triggers the immune system to attack various areas of the body. That’s why suppressing the immune system is one of the main forms of treatment. Finding the cause is the object of major research efforts.
Factors that may contribute to the development of lupus include viruses, environmental chemicals and a person’s genetic makeup.
Female hormones are believed to play a role in the development of lupus because women are affected by lupus much more often than men. This is especially true of women during their reproductive years, a time when hormone levels are highest.
The observation that lupus may affect more than one member of the same family has raised the possibility that the tendency to develop lupus may be inherited. Having such a tendency, however, does not predict that a relative will develop lupus. Only about 10% of people with lupus have a close relative with the disease.
Who Is Affected By Lupus The Most?
According to the Lupus Foundation of America, approximately 1.5 million people in the U.S. have lupus. People of African, Asian, and Native American descent are more likely to develop lupus than are Caucasians. Although it can occur in both men and women, 90% of people diagnosed with the disease are women. Women of childbearing age (14 to 45 years old) are most often affected and as many as 1 in 250 people may develop lupus.
What Other Symptoms & Risks Are Involved?
Common symptoms of lupus include extreme fatigue, painful or swollen joints, unexplained fever, and skin rashes. Lupus can lead to arthritis, kidney failure, heart and lung inflammation, central nervous system abnormalities, inflammation of the blood vessels and blood disorders. Inflammation causes swelling, pain, and tissue damage throughout the body. If you develop severe lupus, you may have problems with your kidneys, heart, lungs, nervous system, or blood cells.
Severe sickness usually results from the most serious forms of the disease. More often, quality of life is challenged by symptoms like fatigue and joint pains, which are not life threatening. Several unspecified topical therapies had been prescribed during this time although none had resulted in clinical improvement
Can Lupus Be Spread To Others?
Lupus is not contagious. However, conditions such as neonatal lupus syndrome may occur when an infant is born to a mother who has autoantibodies in her blood during the pregnancy. The baby may develop skin lesions, which usually resolve by six months. Neonatal lupus is highly associated with maternal anti-Ro (usually also with anti-La) antibodies, although the rash may occur with anti-RNP antibodies.
What Do I Do If I Have Lupus (or Suspect That I Might Have It)?
There is no cure for lupus, but there are steps you can take to improve your sense of well-being and your quality of life, including:
• Be Aware. Talk to you doctor, and learn as much as you can about the condition, as well as what to expect. In particular, the appearance of the lesions and scars associated with DLE can be emotionally devastating and the effects can have a dramatic negative impact on a person’s quality of life, so being prepared for these changes is very important.
• Exercise. Low-impact exercises, such as walking, swimming, and biking can help prevent muscle wasting and lower your risk for developing osteoporosis (thinning of the bones). Exercise also can have a positive impact on mood.
• Get enough rest. Pace yourself, alternating periods of activity with periods of rest.
• Eat well. People with lupus should eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet.
• Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can interact with your medications to cause significant stomach or intestinal problems, including ulcers.
• Don’t smoke.Smoking can impair circulation and worsen symptoms in people with lupus. Tobacco smoke also has negative effects on your heart, lungs, and stomach.
• Play it safe in the sun. People with lupus may develop rashes or disease flares when exposed to the sun. All lupus patients should protect themselves from the sun; wear sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen when you go out in the sun.
• Treat fevers. Take care of fevers and infections promptly. A fever may indicate an infection or a lupus flare-up.
• Be a partner in your care. Build an honest and open relationship with your doctor. Be patient. It often takes time to find the right medication and dosage that works best for you. Also, follow your doctor’s treatment plan and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
• Get to know your disease. Keep a record of your lupus symptoms, which parts of your body are affected and any situations or activities that seem to trigger your symptoms.
• Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to recognize when you need help and to ask for it. Consider joining a support group. It often helps to talk to others who have been through similar experiences.
For more on skin lupus and new research being conducted, please visit LupusSkin.com