8 most common stereotypes about lupus!

Published May 10, 2022 • By Berthe Nkok

Today is World Lupus Day, and on this occasion we decided to talk about this still unknown and presumptive disease.

People suffering with lupus cannot discuss their condition freely because it is still a taboo.

What are the most common stereotypes and preconceived ideas about lupus?

We explain it all in our article!

8 most common stereotypes about lupus!

What is lupus ?

Systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic autoimmune disease, defined as systemic because it affects several organs. It causes different clinical manifestations in different people.

The term lupus refers to a characteristic symptom of the disease: a rash on the face, which takes the form of a mask. The disease can also affect other parts of the body: joints, kidneys, heart membrane (pericardium), nervous system and lungs (pleura), blood, etc.

It is estimated that about 1.5 million Americans currently have a form of lupus. Women are affected much more than men (9 out of 10 cases of lupus are diagnosed in women), particularly young women of 15 to 40 years old. But the disease can also affect children, even newborns, and people over 50.

The symptoms of lupus

The symptoms vary from person to person and may change during the course of the disease, which usually progresses by periods of flare-up interspersed with periods of remission.

Skin manifestations, painful or swollen joints (hands, wrists, feet, etc.), general symptoms (fever, severe fatigue, etc.) and abnormal blood test results (hemoglobin, leukopenia, or low white blood cell count, thrombocytopenia, or low blood platelet count) are the most common signs of the disease (more than 80% of cases).

In less than 50% of cases, general deterioration and/or signs of damage to other organs (lungs, heart, blood vessels, nerves, etc.) are also present.

What are the most common stereotypes about lupus?

Lupus is a skin condition

Lupus is not just a skin disease. It is a chronic autoimmune disease. Indeed, only cutaneous forms of lupus affect the skin. But there is another form of lupus called systemic lupus, which can affect multiple organs, such as kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, but also skin and blood vessels.

Lupus is not a genetic condition

Lupus is a genetic disease that in some cases can be inherited. But the disease can actually skip generations, this is why it is important to know your family medical history. If lupus is suspected, doctors will always start by asking about the patient's medical history. Finally, patients whose families already have one or more members with an autoimmune disease are more likely to develop lupus.

Lupus is not a serious disease

Lupus is a serious disease and so far there is no cure. When lupus affects the skin and/or joints, it is not life threatening. However, discoid lupus, which often affects the face, can leave scars and cause significant psychological damage.

The difficulty with this disease is that there is no way of knowing which organ will be affected during an attack. On the other hand, if treatment is administered strictly according to the rules, if the patient follows a strict and balanced diet, and has no exposure to the sun, he or she can learn to live with the disease and control it better. However, it is the responsibility of each patient and, unfortunately, those who are not properly treated can die from the disease.

Lupus is a well-known disease

Lupus is still a taboo today. Many people are embarrassed to talk about it, for fear of not being understood, not being able to start a family, or to work like others do. But we must talk about it, because the more we communicate about the disease, the better we understand it. It is through conversation that such taboos can be broken.

You can't have children if you have lupus

Lupus does not have a negative impact on fertility, if the disease is stabilized. However, pregnancy must be planned and prepared for, as patients must stop taking certain medications and be closely monitored by doctors. However, for some women with very advanced stage of the disease, having a baby can be risky.

Lupus only affects women

Although lupus affects more women, men and children are not immune. In addition, the disease is usually much more severe in men than in women.

Lupus only affects black people

Lupus is more common in certain ethnic groups such as African Americans, West Indians, Native Americans and Asians, but it does not spare the Caucasian population. In all cases, women of childbearing age (between 15 and 40) are particularly affected. Lupus affects about nine times more women than men in this age group.

Pregnancy cannot cause lupus

Although the causes of lupus are still unknown, certain factors, such as pregnancy or childbirth, may provoke the onset of the disease. Stress, overwork and exposure to the sun are also considered as possible causes of the disease.


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avatar Berthe Nkok

Author: Berthe Nkok, Health Writer

Berthe is a content creator at Carenity, specializing in writing health articles.  

Berthe is in the process of obtaining her Master's degree in International Trade and B-to-B Marketing and aspires to develop... >> Learn more

1 comment

on 11/11/22

Thank you, thank you, for this article. I have read so many different articles and none have explained it so thoroughly all in one place. My Lupus came out full blown during my pregnancy but I always showed symptoms when I was younger. When I finally learned what I was dealing with was Lupus. (Not even other doctors knew what was wrong with me) All the things you described are constant explanations I have to give. I have to see a cardiologist, urologist, orthopedist, and a neurologist regularly, this is NOT including my Rheumatologist. I always hear, "but it's just a skin condition". It's so frustrating! Even others who have Lupus don't always understand that each person's experiance can vary drastically from person to person. As someone who rarely even shares their experiences, It can make you feel very alone! Thanks again!

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