Epidemiology of systemic lupus erythematosus

Guillermo J. Pons-Estel, Manuel F. Ugarte-Gil, Graciela S. Alarcón

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


Introduction: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a disease distributed worldwide, which occurs in both genders, and across racial/ethnic and age groups; however, higher rates are observed in adults, in women and in non-Caucasians. Genetic, environmental, sociodemographic and methodological issues are responsible not only for these differences but for the variable course and outcome of the disease. Non-Caucasians have a more severe disease with a higher risk for early mortality and damage accrual. Males also have a more severe disease; however, a negative impact of male gender on lupus outcomes has not been firmly established. Childhood-onset is associated with a more severe disease; moreover, it is also associated with higher damage and diminished survival; finally, late-onset lupus is mild but it is associated with higher damage accrual and a diminished survival. Areas covered: In this review, we discuss the incidence and prevalence of SLE, the impact of age, gender and race/ethnicity in SLE and in the survival of those affected. Expert commentary: Age, gender and race/ethnicity impact disease expression in SLE patients; despite improvements in survival, mortality in SLE remains almost three times higher than in the general population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-814
Number of pages16
JournalExpert Review of Clinical Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 3 Aug 2017


  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • age
  • epidemiology
  • gender
  • incidence
  • prevalence
  • race /ethnicity
  • survival /mortality


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