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As illustrated by this chart, SLE primarily affects women of childbearing age (15 to 44 years old).1,2 The Euro-Lupus cohort study, a prospective-design, multicentre study, was designed to provide updated information on the SLE morbidity and mortality characteristics and define several clinical and immunological prognostic factors.2 The Euro-Lupus project analyzed 1,000 patients with SLE, of whom 908 were women. The 1,000 patients were followed prospectively since 1990.2 The age ranges for symptom onset and diagnosis are shown here, with the highest percentages occurring in the 21–30 year group. Overall, mean age at onset of symptoms was 29 years, and mean age at diagnosis was 31 years.2 Furthermore, SLE affects women compared with men by a ratio of 9:1.1 Concerning ethnicity differences, women in nonwhite ethnic groups are disproportionately affected. SLE occurrence is four times higher among African American women compared to Caucasian women.3 Danchenko and colleagues assessed published studies dating back to 1950 and found that the disease burden is considerably elevated among nonwhite racial groups worldwide.3
REFERENCES D’Cruz DP et al. Lancet. 2007;369:587-596. Cervera R et al. Medicine. 1993;72:113-124. Danchenko N et al. Lupus. 2006;15:308-318.
Morbidity associated with SLE More than half of SLE patients develop permanent organ system damage.
Reference ACR Ad Hoc Committee on SLE Guidelines. Guidelines for referral and management of systemic lupus erythematosus in adults. Arthritis Rheum 1999; 42:1785–1796.
The frequency of the diverse and complex spectrum of clinical manifestations of SLE varies over the course of the disease. The most common manifestations at SLE onset include arthralgia (77%), skin (53%), constitutional symptoms (53%), and arthritis (44%).1 The most common manifestations at any time over the course of SLE include arthralgia (85%), skin (78%), constitutional symptoms (77%), renal (74%), arthritis (63%), Raynaud’s phenomenon (60%), vasculitis (56%), CNS (54%), mucous membrane (52%), and gastrointestinal (45%).
Reference Buyon J. In: Klippel JH et al, eds. Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases. 13th ed. New York, NY:Springer-Verlag;2007:303-18.