Types of Lupus Erythematosus: Neonatal

There are many different types of lupus erythematosus. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the body's cells and tissues causing inflammation and damage to the tissues. It may affect the heart, skin, liver or the spleen. Neonatal lupus occurs in infants due to the passage of the maternal auto-antibodies. It is usually passed from the mother who carries Ro/SSA antibody. It usually affects infant girls more than boys and occurs in 1 of every 20,000 births. At birth the infant may have no signs of lupus, but during the first few weeks of life the disease will make an appearance.

Skin Problems

The first sign of neonatal lupus erythematosus is a skin rash. The infant may be born with the rash or he can develop the rash within the first few weeks of life. The rash is characterized by red blotches on the skin. In some cases, there is swelling associated with the blotches. The rash usually disappears once the mothers antibodies disappear from the infant. This will most likely happen within six months of the infants life. The rash may be treated with ointments applied to the skin to help in reducing breakouts.

In other cases, the skin may show sensitivity to sunlight. This will usually appear shortly after the birth of the child. The skin may develop a rash or become severely sunburned in very little exposure to the sunlight. It is important with any newborn to avoid excess exposure to direct sunlight due to the sensitivity of the infant's skin.

The skin may also have pigmentation problems. This is when the skin is has very uneven skin color. In most cases, the skin will regain the original color in just a few weeks. Some infants with neonatal lupus are born with skin lesions usually appearing on the face and neck. In some cases the lesions may be on the trunk and chest areas. The lesions will most likely disappear before the child is six months old.

Heart Disease

In more severe cases of neonatal lupus erythematous, the infant may suffer from heart problems. The most common heart problem is a congenital heart block. A congenital heart block is a disease where the heart does not beat as fast as it should. In many cases, it does not cause any major problems and there are usually no symptoms. Although there are rare cases when the disease does cause problems and even cause death. In most cases, the doctor can tell if there is something wrong with your baby's heart by the time you are 18 weeks pregnant.

Causes of Neonatal Lupus Erythematosus

The most common cause of neonatal lupus is due to the passage of antibodies from the mother to the infant. Other causes may include genetic disposition and possibly drug interaction. The drug minocycline is an antibiotic drug used to treat a wide variety of skin disorders including acne. It may also be used to help with the treatment of Lyme disease.

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