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Disclaimer: These  are not intended to replace medical advice or explanation from your medical doctors.  Please consult your physician for information regarding your own care. 


Lichen sclerosus (aka lichen sclerosis or lichen sclerosis et atrophicus) is a painful skin condition that typically affects the vulva (or penis) and anus. In women, causes chronic vulvar pain.  It is not a contagious condition.

 The symptoms of LS are thinning skin, white patches of skin, itching and/or burning, painful sexual intercourse, and sores or lesions resulting from scratching.  If left untreated, LS can result in fusing of the skin, atrophy, and narrowing of the vagina. 

The most common sufferers of LS are post-menopausal women, although the disease can strike women and men of any age -- including young girls and boys. 


Lupus: (Discoid Lupus Erythematosus-DLE)(Systemic Erythematosus-SLE):  Lupus can occur in two forms, DLE or SLE.  Both forms can exhibit the classic "butterfly" rash over the nose and cheeks of the face, as well as rashes elsewhere on the body.

DLE  effects only the skin and manifests as chronic skin eruptions which often lead to scarring.  Some of these patients develop SLE later in life. 

SLE is the more serious form of the disease.  It affects multiple organ systems as well as the skin and occurs in patterns of remissions and exacerbations.  Sle may occur over a period of time or may present as an acute illness.  SLE may affect every organ in the body as well as joints.  Treatment is based upon presenting symptoms.  Mild cases may require no medical treatment other than preventative, such as staying out of the sunlight and avoiding ultraviolet light of all kinds.  Severe cases may require a multi-treatment plan frequently involving high hose steroids.

The primary, initial symptoms of  SLE include any of, but not necessarily all of the following:  aching, fatigue, fever or chills, loss of appetite and weight loss, pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, lymph node enlargement and abdominal pain.

When the kidneys, heart, lungs or brain become involved, the prognosis is less favorable.

Lyme Disease:  Lyme Disease is caused by the bite of a tick, specifically a deer tick., which injects spirochete-laden saliva into the blood stream or deposits fecal material on the skin.  After an incubation period of 3-32 days, the spirochetes migrate to the skin surface and then begin to invade the other body systems via the bloodstream or the lymph system.

Often the first sign of Lyme Disease is a red macule at the site of the bite..  More lesions may occur, resulting in a ring like rash that eventually results in small red blotches.  Fatigue, headache, chills, enlarged lymph glands, achiness may all occur.  It is also possible to have meningeal irritation, encepalopathy, musculoskeletal pain and hepatitis.

Weeks to months later, the second stage begins resulting in neurologic abnormalities or cardiac abnormalities.

Stage three results in in arthritis with frank swelling, especially in large joints.

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Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA):  Staphylococcus aureus is a bacteria often found in the nose and on the skin.  When people with a weakened immune system become infected, usually in a hospital setting, it becomes a serious, difficult to treat, infection.  The bacteria is resistant to most antibiotics.

Mitral Valve Prolapse:  The mitral valve is a valve in the heart that opens and closes, allowing blood through as the heart pumps.  When this valve does not close properly, then blood from the left ventricle of the heart flows back into the right ventricle causing the right side of the heart to enlarge.  The left side of the heart also enlarges due to the excess amount of blood that is pumped into it as a result of the back flow.  This can lead to heart failure.   This may be caused by numerous factors, one being inflammation.  

Multiple Sclerosis:  Demyelination of the white matter of the brain and spinal cord are the consequences of this illness.  Symptoms are varied due to the fact that all of the nerves can be affected.  MS may progress rapidly or it may be a slow process with flare-ups and remissions.  The rapid progression of the disease in a patient is a poor prognostic sign and death may occur within months of onset.  Diagnosis is usually determined with a spinal tap and examination of spinal fluid and an MRI of the brain.

Myasthenia Gravis:  (MG)  Myasthenia Gravis causes the nerve impulses from the brain not to transmit.  This results in weakness and fatigability in the muscles.  Any muscle group can be affected, but it commonly starts with the facial muscles.  As with other AI diseases MG can follow a course of exacerbations and remissions.  When the muscle weakness affects the respiratory system, then prognosis is poor.

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 Osteoarthritis:  (OA) Osteoarthritis is not an autoimmune illness. It  is a degenerative joint disease.  It causes the cartilage at the end of the bones in the joints to deteriorate and can result in pain, stiffness and loss of movement. The knees and hands are the most common joints effected.

Osteoporosis:  A condition (non-autoimmune) causing the rate of bone growth to slow while the rate of bone loss increases.  The bones lose calcium and phosphate salts which results in bones that are brittle, porous and easy to fracture.  It can be primary or secondary to another condition.  Post-menopausal women and patients on steroids are prone to osteoporosis.  Often, the first symptom is the snapping of a bone. 

Bone density tests are recommended for screening and supplemental calcium and Vitamin D are often prescribed for patients with osteoporosis or patients on steroids or post menopausal women.

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This page was last updated on 04/23/2005 .
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