Can Discoid Lupus Turn into Systemic?- “Sure” Now more about the truth

The Latest Research Answers the Question:

“Can discoid lupus turn into systemic lupus erythematosus?”

Discoid lupus erythematosus on the cheek of a white woman with systemic lupus

Discoid lupus: note the round “disc” shape, the outer active inflamed border is pink, the central area has scar tissue

“Can discoid lupus turn into systemic lupus erythematosus?”

– The above photo is a classic example of discoid lupus
– Around 15% of people with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) will also have discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE)
– If someone develops DLE by itself, it can potentially evolve to SLE over time
– SLE will develop in 25% to 30% of children who have DLE
– In adults, it depends upon how extensive the DLE is:
     – if the DLE is just above the neck (localized DLE), that person has approximately a 10% chance of SLE
     – If the DLE is above and below the neck (generalized DLE), there is a 1 out of 4 chance of evolving to SLE

A ray of hope

– People who have DLE that evolves to SLE tend to have a milder form of SLE. They are less likely to have severe organ involvement, such as lupus nephritis (kidney inflammation) compared to SLE patients who do not have DLE
– However, this rule is not 100%. There are some DLE patients who will develop severe SLE. This more commonly occurs in those with severe DLE that is generalized.

– Make sure to follow all the advice in the “Lupus Secrets” to ensure you have the greatest chance of not developing severe SLE

If you have discoid lupus… what is your experience and advice for others. COMMENT above


Don Thomas, MD, author of “The Lupus Encyclopedia” and “The Lupus Secrets

The above photo is courtesy of Johns Hopkins Press upcoming 2nd edition of “The Lupus Encyclopedia”

Arkin LM, Ansell L, Rademaker A, et al. The natural history of pediatric-onset discoid lupus erythematosus. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015;72(4):628-633. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2014.12.028

Chong BF, Song J, Olsen NJ. Determining risk factors for developing systemic lupus erythematosus in patients with discoid lupus erythematosus. Br J Dermatol. 2012 Jan;166(1):29-35. Epub 2011 Dec 5.

Izmirly P, Buyon J, Belmont HM, et al. Population-based prevalence and incidence estimates of primary discoid lupus erythematosus from the Manhattan Lupus Surveillance Program Lupus Science & Medicine 2019;6:e000344. doi: 10.1136/lupus-2019-000344

Pons-Estel, G. J., Aspey, L. D., Bao, G., Pons-Estel, B. A., Wojdyla, D., Saurit, V., … Drenkard, C. (2017). Early discoid lupus erythematosus protects against renal disease in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: longitudinal data from a large Latin American cohort. Lupus, 26(1), 73–83.

How to Stop Lupus Hair Loss- In the video below:

How to stop hair loss! – Yes! You can do things to help!
And learn that much of the time… it is NOT due to lupus

Learn more about hair loss from Don Thomas MD and the Lupus Foundation of America

Discoid lupus causing scarring alopecia

Discoid lupus causes permanent hair loss (scarring alopecia) – it is a medical emergency!

Watch the YouTube videos on how to stop lupus hair loss below and learn:

Lupus and hair loss can be devastating. Dr. Donald Thomas discusses how lupus causes hair loss

– The different types of hair loss are numerous and each have their own treatments. Learn about these possible causes of hair loss.

-Lupus and hair loss symptoms can vary between the different causes. Learn how they can differ. For example, lupus hair breakage where there are short hairs at the frontal areas of the scalp is often times called “lupus hair.” This type of hair loss usually grows back with treatment of the lupus.
– The “difference” between alopecia and hair loss. They mean the same thing. Learn about the origins of the word “alopecia.”
– What you doctor can do to help hair loss in lupus. Dr. Donald Thomas explains why it is so important to see a dermatologist who is experienced in taking care of hair loss.
– What you can do yourself to help ensure you get the best medical care, a proper diagnosis, and the best treatments available.
Have a “Plan” for when discoid lupus hair loss flares! Discoid lupus flares can leave more skin damage and hair loss each time they occur. The faster you stop the inflammation, the better.
– Dr. Donald Thomas explains what treatments work and which do not.  He discusses many tips and tricks. For example, did you know that if you take biotin, it should be stopped a few days before all labs? Learn why in this video.

– Did you know that over-the-counter minoxidil is your best best to improve many causes of hair loss? More people try biotin because it is easy to take a tablet every day. Minoxidil requires that you rub it in the scalp twice daily. It is more work, but much more likely to help.
– What you should not waste your money on when it comes to hair loss in lupus. Learn what is the most effective over the counter treatment.
​- Much of the time… it is NOT lupus… learn how to tell and get the proper help

Click above for part 1 above … Part 2 below


Donald Thomas, MD author “The Lupus Encyclopedia” and “The Lupus Secrets