Many autoimmune diseases are more common among women than men. In fact, nine out of ten patients with lupus are women, and physicians and researchers currently do not understand why. Clinical research is playing a vital role in discovering why conditions like lupus affect more women than men. Read on to find out more.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the body. An autoimmune disease causes the body’s immune system to mistakenly attack healthy areas, resulting in damaging inflammation, pain, and swelling. All types of lupus have common symptoms, including fatigue, joint pain, fever, and general discomfort.
Linking Women to Lupus
Like many other autoimmune diseases, the cause of lupus is unknown. Since more women are affected by lupus, research suggests that hormones may play a role in the onset of the disease. Estrogen, a hormone that women produce, increases the risk of developing lupus rather than causing it.
One study hoped to discover more about “lupus susceptibility genes,” or genes that are thought to increase the chances of developing the disease. The study found that women diagnosed with lupus had more of these genes present than men. With this in mind, it may partially explain why more women develop lupus than men.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the most common form of lupus and has been found to have a strong genetic basis. Further research continues to identify how these specific genes, and other environmental, demographic, and lifestyle factors play a role in lupus.
Men and Lupus
Although men are the minority in lupus diagnoses, research has found trends amongst them as well. One discovery is that particular symptoms of lupus present themselves in men more often than women. Some of those symptoms are pleurisy, kidney disease, discoid lupus, hemolytic anemia, lupus anti-coagulant, and seizures. In short, it is just as crucial for men to seek the same treatment as women, along with the same sense of urgency.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with lupus, we are currently enrolling studies looking into new treatment options. Qualified participants receive access to study-related care and medication not available to the public. Reimbursement for time and travel may also be available. To learn more or apply to this study, click HERE.