Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), commonly known as lupus, is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect many parts of the body, including the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and blood vessels. While anyone can develop lupus, certain factors increase a person’s risk, including:
- Gender: Lupus is more common in women than in men, with about 90% of cases occurring in females.
- Age: Lupus can occur at any age, but it is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 45.
- Family history: If a close family member has lupus, the risk of developing the disease is higher.
- Ethnicity: Lupus is more common in people of African, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American descent than in Caucasians.
- Environmental factors: Exposure to certain environmental factors, such as sunlight, certain medications, and infections, may trigger lupus in people who are genetically predisposed to the disease.
- Other medical conditions: People with certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune thyroid disease, or Sjogren’s syndrome, are at increased risk of developing lupus.
It’s important to note that having one or more of these risk factors doesn’t mean that a person will develop lupus, and some people with lupus don’t have any of these risk factors. If you have concerns about your risk of developing lupus, talk to your healthcare provider.