Lupus is a chronic disease that causes your body’s immune system to attack its own organs and tissues. In turn, numerous parts of the body can become damaged, including your kidneys, skin, joints, lungs, heart, and brain. Although the direct cause of lupus is unknown, there are specific risk factors in which you need to be aware of. The following risk factors increase your chances of developing a form of lupus.
Unfortunately, this risk factor is not within your control, as women are more likely to suffer from lupus. In fact, more than 90 percent of lupus patients are women. Being most common in childbearing years, this disease places women at-risk for a number of serious conditions including heart disease, kidney disease, and osteoporosis.
It is estimated that 4 to 12 women are diagnosed with lupus for every man. However, there are many other risk factors involved. Continue reading to find out what else can contribute to the development of lupus.
Generally, symptoms of lupus develop slowly and they can even come and go. With that being said, females are typically diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 45. If you are within this age bracket, you’re automatically at an increased risk. If you’re a male, you are most at-risk before puberty and after the age of 50.
With that in mind, it is important to remember that lupus can affect anyone at any age. If there is any concern, consult a medical professional.
Although it’s not fully understood why, African-American, Latino, Asian, and Native American individuals tend to be diagnosed more frequently than Caucasians.
In fact, African-American women are three times more likely to get lupus in comparison to Caucasian women. They also tend to develop lupus at a younger age and exhibit more severe symptoms. Researchers believe that genetics have a role to play across various ethnic groups.
At this time, there has not been one specific gene or a group of genes that is known to cause lupus. What has been observed is that lupus does tend to appear amongst certain families.
Researchers have also identified possible genes which contribute to the development of lupus, but it’s not believed that these associations cause the disease. It’s important to note that lupus can develop in people who do not have a family history of this disease.
Hormones are essential when regulating a number of your body’s functions. Since so many lupus patients are female, researchers are particularly interested in the possible relationship between lupus and estrogen.
Of course, women produce more estrogen than men and the timing of symptoms is also interesting. Many women show symptoms before they menstruate or during pregnancy when estrogen production is particularly high. This relationship has not been proven, however, as studies that have examined estrogen in birth control pills show no increased risk.