Psoriasis vs. Lupus: What’s the Difference?

Psoriasis vs. lupus

Lupus and psoriasis are chronic conditions that have some key similarities and important differences. Psoriasis, for example, is much more prevalent than lupus. Psoriasis affects about 125 million people worldwide, and 5 million people worldwide have some form of lupus.

The role of the immune system

If you have a normal, healthy immune system and you’re injured or become sick, your body will produce antibodies. Antibodies are powerful proteins that help you heal. These antibodies target germs, bacteria, viruses, and other foreign agents.

If you have an autoimmune disease, such as psoriasis or lupus, your body makes autoantibodies. Autoantibodies mistakenly attack healthy tissue.

In the case of lupus, autoantibodies can cause skin rashes and sore joints. Psoriasis is mostly known for the patches of dry, dead skin plaques that form primarily on the:

  • scalp
  • knees
  • elbows
  • back

Some people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, which makes their joints stiff and sore.

Symptoms of lupus and psoriasis

While symptoms of lupus and psoriasis can be noticed on your skin and in your joints, lupus can have more serious complications. The autoantibodies you make when you have lupus can also attack healthy organs. That can lead to hospitalization in some cases. Lupus can even be a life-threatening condition.

Lupus symptoms

Common symptoms of lupus include:

  • fever
  • fatigue
  • swollen joints
  • hair loss
  • facial rash
  • chest discomfort when taking deep breaths

Your fingers may also change color temporarily if they get cold.

If you have lupus and develop a face rash, the rash will appear in the shape of a butterfly. It will cover the bridge of your nose and your cheeks.

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