How common is lupus?

Lupus affects different age groups at different rates. The majority of people with lupus develop the disease between ages 15 and 45.1 Women account for 85% of diagnosed lupus cases.2

Heredity is a factor, meaning lupus sometimes runs in families. If a mother has lupus, her children have a slightly increased risk of developing the disease.2

The number of people who have lupus varies widely among different countries and among different populations within countries. Lupus is present in as many as 1 out of every 250 black women; it is present in 1 out of every 1,000 white women.2 Lupus occurs more often in Hispanic, Native American, and Asian people than in whites.1


  1. Lockshin MD (2005). Systemic lupus erythematosus. In DC Dale, DD Federman, eds., ACP Medicine, section 15, chap. 4. New York: WebMD.
  2. Hellmann DB, Imboden JB Jr (2008). Systemic lupus erythematosus section of Arthritis and musculoskeletal disorders. In LM Tierney et al., eds., Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment, 47th ed., pp. 725–729. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Last Updated: May 13, 2008

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