Statistics Everyone Should Know About Lupus

Ines Martins, PhD avatar

by Ines Martins, PhD |

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Lupus is a difficult disease in many ways, but one of the hardest parts for lupus sufferers is diagnosis. There isn’t a simple test that patients can take to tell doctors they have it, and it often takes a while to arrive at the correct diagnosis.

We’ve gathered statistics from both Right Diagnosis and the National Resource Center on Lupus to give you a little more insight into this often misunderstood disease.

About 63 percent of people with lupus were originally incorrectly diagnosed, which is something that must be taken into account when reviewing lupus statistics. Nobody can be sure how many people with the disease may have been misdiagnosed, or are still living with an incorrect diagnosis. Because lupus is known as “the great imitator,” it takes an average of six years for people to be diagnosed with it after they start presenting symptoms.

MORE: 11 signs that may indicate you have lupus

There are roughly 1.5 million Americans that are currently living with lupus, and approximately one in every 250 people may end up developing it at some point in their lives.

Lupus is a predominantly female disease: 90 percent of lupus patients are female and a major subset are women of color. A recent survey found that one in every 537 African-American women is affected by the disease.

Lupus develops mainly in individuals between the ages of 15 and 44, however, a survey showed that 73 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 to 34 have either no knowledge of the disease or barely know more than its name.

MORE: 12 ways to raise awareness of lupus

About 78 percent of people that have lupus reported that they’re handling it well and 84 percent said members of their family are their main support network.

There might be a direct correlation between the fact that patients identify family members as their main support system and the fact that genes play a significant role in lupus. Twenty percent of people that suffer from lupus have either a parent or sibling with the disease. Even if they don’t have a family member who has lupus, there’s still a very big chance they have a family member with another autoimmune disease.

Lupus can be divided into four types: the systemic, which accounts for about 70 percent of cases; the cutaneous, which accounts for around 10 percent; the drug-induced, which is responsible for about 10 percent; and finally the neonatal, which is rarer and doesn’t have a fixed percentage.

MORE: 12 of the most commonly asked questions about lupus

Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.