The Relationship Between Women And Lupus

Articles addressing women and lupus outnumber the resources aimed specifically at men and lupus. The slant in coverage occurs because 90 percent of people diagnosed with Lupus are female, but that leaves the 10 percent of men searching for gender specific answers (National Institutes of Health (NIH), 2001).

Who Does Lupus Affect the Most?

The vast majority of Lupus sufferers are women. The disease also appears to attack certain ethnicities more frequently. Women of African descent are two to three times more likely to receive a diagnosis than Caucasian women (NIH, 2001). Lupus also seems more prevalent among women of Hispanic, Asian, and Native American descent.

Certain symptoms also seem to favor different ethnicities. Early lupus symptoms appear at a younger age among women of African descent, who are also more likely to suffer from seizures and strokes, as well as those of Hispanic descent, who demonstrate more health problems.

Why Are Women More Prone?

Though scientists are not yet sure what causes lupus, they hypothesize that hormones may be partly to blame. Lupus mostly affects women between the ages of 15 and 45 which are prime child-bearing years, suggesting that possible hormones linked to fertility could contribute to the disease.

Genes may also be a trigger of the disease. If so, women may simply be genetically more pre-disposed to the disease than men.

What About Men With Lupus?

Women and lupus may be on the front page more, but science has not ignored that men are also at risk for developing lupus.

Men are more likely to develop drug-induced lupus because the medicines with the highest risk of triggering Lupus, procainamide and hydralazine, are found in drugs typically prescribed to men for treating heart disease. The symptoms usually go away once he stops taking the medication.

The Lupus Foundation of American (LFA) reports that gender discrepancies are not static. One in four systematic lupus diagnoses before puberty are given to males, which then shifts to one diagnosed male for every ten women after puberty. The numbers shift again after the age of 50, when one man is diagnosed for every eight women (LFA, 2011).

Regardless of gender or race, lupus treatment is generally the same with special attention paid to an individual’s particular symptoms. Why lupus affects genders and ethnicities differently is a crucial focus as medical science works at finding a cure for lupus.