Lupus affects approximately 5 million people worldwide, with the highest prevalence among women of childbearing age (15-44 years old). In the US, it is estimated that 1.5 million people have lupus.
It is more prevalent among certain ethnic and racial groups, including African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders. Living with lupus can be challenging, but many people with the disease are able to lead full and active lives with the help of their healthcare providers and support from family and friends.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune (a disorder in which body cells start damaging healthy cells) disease that affects various body parts – including the skin, joints, kidneys, and other organs. Also known as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), this disease mistakenly attacks healthy tissues and organs and causes inflammation and damage. (1)
The exact cause of SLE is unknown, but most scientists believe it to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Women are more likely to develop this disease and it often develops in people between the ages of 15 and 45.