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Risk Factors for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.

It is possible to develop SLE with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing SLE. There is no way to reduce your risk.

SLE occurs primarily in women of childbearing age. It affects nonwhite women more frequently than white women.

The major risk factors are:

  • Gender —The majority of people with SLE are women.
  • Age —SLE first occurs most often in the late teens to early 30s.
  • Ethnic background —People who are African American, Native American, Asian, or Hispanic are at greater risk than those who are white.
  • Family history —Having a relative with SLE increases your chances of developing the disease.
  • A history of celiac disease
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Revision Information

  • Handout on health: Systemic lupus erythematosus. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Lupus/default.asp. Updated August 2011. Accessed June 28, 2013.

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what. Updated June 13, 2013. Accessed June 28, 2013.

  • What are the risks for developing lupus? Lupus Foundation of America website. Available at: http://www.lupus.org/webmodules/webarticlesnet/templates/new%5Flearnunderstanding.aspx?articleid=2237&zoneid=523. Accessed June 28, 2013.

  • 11/25/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Ludvigsson JF, Rubio-Tapia A, et al. Increased risk of systemic lupus erythematosus in 29,000 patients with biopsy-verified celiac disease. J Rheumatol. 2012 Oct;39(10):1964-1970.

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