Lupus is a common autoimmune disease that is diagnosed in an estimated 16,000 people each year.
Patients experience pain, extreme fatigue, cognitive issues, hair loss, and physical impairments, as well as facial rashes and painful joints. Because symptoms are common and fairly nonspecific, diagnosis can be delayed.
Lupus occurs more often in women of childbearing age, but is also diagnosed in men, children, and youths. It is more common in women of color – African American women, Latinas, Asians, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islander.
Lupus can be fatal. About 10%-15% of lupus patients will die due to complications of the disease.
Lupus is expensive. Annual direct care costs for lupus patients averaged over $12,000 in 2008, according to one study (Arthritis Rheum. 2008 Dec 15; 59(12): 1788–1795), while productivity loss in working-age patients was estimated at over $8,000.
Questions remain regarding lupus. What causes lupus? Genes play a role, but so do environmental triggers and hormones. What can be done to stave off lupus nephritis, a common and potentially deadly comorbidity? What are potential targets for investigational therapeutics? What can patients do to mitigate against lupus symptoms and thrive despite their chronic disease?