Lupus Fast Facts
Lupus is a chronic auto-immune disease that for unknown reasons causes the immune system to mistakenly attack the body’s own healthy cells and tissues.
An estimated 90% of people diagnosed with lupus are women.
Lupus strikes adult women 10 to 15 times more frequently than adult men.
Lupus disproportionately affects women of color (three times more than Caucasian women).
Lupus is more prevalent in African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians.
African American women are three times more likely to get lupus than Caucasian women.
Both African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos tend to develop lupus at a younger age and have more symptoms at diagnosis (including kidney problems).
Lupus is NOT infectious, rare or cancerous.
Although the cause of lupus is unknown, scientists suspect that individuals may be are genetically predisposed to lupus.
Only 10% of people with lupus have a close relative (parent or sibling) who has lupus.
It is believed that environmental factors such as infections, antibiotics, ultraviolet light, extreme stress, and certain drugs play a critical role in triggering lupus.
Lupus is one of the least recognized diseases and one of the most difficult to diagnose because many of its symptoms mimic those of other illnesses.
People with lupus can have a wide range of symptoms including: fatigue, hair loss, painful or swollen joints, fever, skin rashes, and kidney problems.
Some symptoms of lupus can be transient such as joint and muscle pain, fatigue, a rash caused or made worse by sunlight, low-grade fevers, hair loss, appetite loss, sores in the nose or mouth, or painful sensitivity of the fingers in cold environments.
Often people with lupus experience a “flare,” which occurs when some symptoms appear for short periods then disappear. Many people feel very tired or have pain, a rash, a fever, stomach discomfort, headache, or dizziness just before a flare.
Symptoms of lupus can range from mild to life-threatening and thousands of Americans die from lupus complications each year.
With optimal care, most women with lupus can have healthy babies without endangering their own health.