Sydney is a contributing health writer and editor who enjoys shedding light on health topics, making information available to anyone who wants it, and ending stigmas or lack of access to care and treatment.
Leann Poston, M.D.
Leann Poston, M.D. earned her medical degree from the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. She completed an MBA from Raj Soin College of Business, focusing on healthcare. She is a full-time medical communication writer and educator.
April 15, 2021
Lupus affects women more commonly than men – as do most autoimmune disorders. Although it’s not as common in men, many men are still affected by lupus.
Lupus is a life-threatening disease and has no permanent cure. The disease affects people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities, but is more common in some groups of people than others.
EverydayDr is partnered with PlushCare, a telehealth company that connects patients with online doctors. PlushCare was just named one of the top startups of 2021 by Forbes, and doctors have an average of 15 years of experience. This experience and expertise enable doctors to be able to recognize symptoms of lupus in men. You can book a same-day appointment with PlushCare here.
Studies show that, while more common in women, it seems that lupus in men is more severe when it does occur.
In fact, according to the Lupus Foundation of America, “Research suggests 1 in 10 of those with lupus are male. Men develop the same typical clinical manifestations of lupus as women, yet certain key symptoms may be more pronounced in men than in women. For example, when men with lupus have kidney involvement, it tends to be more severe.”
The table below shows the comparison between lupus in men and women.
|Risk Factor||Men have a lower chance of developing lupus than women.||Are at higher risk than men.|
|Severity||The effects of some symptoms are usually more severe or common than in women.||Overall, less severe or common effects of some symptoms.|
|Complication||Most men usually suffer from kidney problems, nervous disorders, blood cell abnormality, and blood vessel problems.||Women living with lupus usually experience kidney problems, heart diseases, skin rashes, and bone loss.|
|Age Bracket||Affects mostly men between the age of 15 and 44.||Affects mostly women between the age of 15 and 44|
|Reactivity||When it is diagnosed, men show more activity.||Less activity of the disease when diagnosed.|
The symptoms of autoimmune disorders in men are the same as in women, but some studies show they are more severe in men, especially with lupus.
Irrespective of the severity, men who have lupus are more likely than women to have:
The age bracket that is most susceptible to the disease in men is similar to those in women – 15 to 44.
Despite the variation in research regarding the severity of the disease, the general belief is that lupus is about nine times more common in women than in men or children. It also affects people in early adulthood and middle age more than children and older adults. Females between the age of 15 and 45 are considered the most susceptible age group for this deadly disease.
Complications of lupus in women also depend on ethnicity. Studies show that strokes and seizures are more common among women of African descent, while heart complications are common among Hispanic women with lupus.
Generally, women living with lupus usually experience kidney problems, heart diseases, and bone loss. While there are conflicting reports on the severity of lupus in men and women, it is generally agreed that women with lupus usually experience more hair loss and skin lesions than men suffering from the disease. Gender differences may be influenced by differences in estrogen and testosterone levels, but the differences seem to extend beyond that.
Another vital factor is pregnancy in combination with lupus. Your pregnancy may affect your lupus symptoms, and your lupus may affect your pregnancy. Pregnancy causes hormone fluctuations and puts stress on your body. Lupus can present during pregnancy, worsen, or even become less severe during pregnancy. Even if pregnancy does not increase the risk of lupus, the condition may lead to pregnancy complications. Most doctors suggest getting lupus into remission and ensuring your blood pressure and kidney function are normal before becoming pregnant. The healthier you are going into a pregnancy, the better.
Lupus is more common between the age of 15 and 45, which is also the age range during which pregnancy is most common.
While lupus cannot prevent a woman from getting pregnant, it may increase the chance of miscarriage and delivery complications. Women with lupus are usually advised to delay pregnancy until they are sure their conditions have been adequately managed. Sometimes pregnancy comes as a surprise. If this should occur, talk to your doctor right away to determine whether you need any changes in your treatment protocol or medications.
“Neonatal lupus,” adds the Lupus Foundation of America, “is a rare condition in which the mother’s antibodies affect the fetus. At birth, the baby may have a skin rash, liver problems, or low blood cell counts, but these symptoms typically disappear completely after six months with no lasting effects.”
Lupus is not common among children – in fact, the percentage of children who have lupus may be less than 0.01% of all people diagnosed with the disease. Even among this small group, however, there are far more females than males.
Many researchers theorize that the number of children who have lupus is more than what is actually diagnosed.
Lupus in children usually leads to:
Symptoms of lupus in men vs. women are pretty much the same, but symptoms can vary from person to person. Men with lupus commonly experience:
Some other signs of lupus in men:
Lupus treatment, whether you’re a man or woman, depends on a few things:
Some people who have milder cases won’t need as much treatment as others. On the other end of the spectrum, someone with kidney problems will likely need prescription medications to manage the symptoms. Some medications to treat lupus in men include:
Some men might consider alternative treatment options in addition to prescribed treatments, such as:
Make sure to consult with a doctor before turning to alternative treatments. If you’re taking medications for lupus, there’s a chance that other supplements or hormones might interfere with them.
Through our partner site, PlushCare, you can make online doctor’s appointments and get advice from a board-certified physician from the comfort of your own home.
Lupus can change rapidly, so carefully monitoring your health is a major part of the long-term treatment for lupus in men and women.
One way to make this more straightforward for you, or your caretaker, is taking advantage of online telehealth options. They cut down costs, save time, and you can make appointments, get medications, and get answers to urgent questions much easier.
Start talking to a PlushCare doctor now, and see if online care for lupus works for your situation.
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