Lupus Fast Facts

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.