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Statistics, Facts and Figures Regarding Lupus


Updated April 09, 2008

Recently posed to me by a friend: How many people get lupus? And how many die from the disease? And what’s the medical cost of having the disease? Basically, what are some key statistics?

Indeed, what are the key statistics, those numbers we should all be able to recite when someone ask about this disease? If you’re asked the same by someone unfamiliar with lupus, hopefully this article, citing statistics gathered from the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), will help prepare you.

About Lupus

  • Approximately 1.5 million Americans have a form of lupus.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus cases: 70%.
  • Of individuals diagnosed with lupus, 90% are women.
  • Eighty percent develop lupus between the ages of 15 to 45.
  • Lupus is two to three times more prevalent among people of color.
  • Chance of a parent or sibling having or developing lupus: 20%.

Diagnosing the Disease

  • A survey from the LFA discovered that over 50% of respondents suffered for more than four years before their lupus was properly diagnosed.
  • For most (in the same survey), it took trips to three doctors to get the correct diagnosis and nearly half were rightly diagnosed by a rheumatologist.

Living with Lupus

  • While the number of deaths attributed to lupus have been on the rise in the last 20 years, it is not known whether this represent an actual increase in mortality or just better identification and reporting of the illness.
  • Most people with lupus will live a normal life span, due to improved diagnosis and treatment.
  • Two-thirds of lupus patients in a LFA study reported complete or partial loss of income due to complications with their disease.
  • Annual average cost to provide medical treatment for a person with lupus: $6,000 to $10,000, with some treatment costing several thousand dollars a month.
  • Primary support network for lupus patients -- family and friends.
  • Most difficult coping factors, as reported in the LFA survey:
    • Pain
    • Lifestyle changes
    • Emotional problems


    Lupus Statistics. Lupus Foundation of America. March 2008.

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