By: CPMC Genetic Counseling Staff
Reviewed by: Dr. Gerald F. Falasca, MD, Cooper University Hospital

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), commonly referred to as “lupus”, is an autoimmune disease that has the potential to affect any organ system in the body. Like other autoimmune diseases, lupus occurs when the body attacks itself. The most commonly affected areas of the body include the skin, joints, kidneys, blood vessels, brain, heart and lungs. Although lupus can be diagnosed at any age, the average age of onset is 31 years old1.

There are four types of lupus: systemic lupus erythematosus, discoid lupus, drug-induced lupus and neonatal lupus. Although they can have overlapping symptoms, systemic lupus erythematosus is the most serious and the most common. 

How Common is Lupus?
Lupus is much more common in women than men (10 to 1) and is 4 to 5 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians. Click here to view the data2

To schedule a free telephone consultation to discuss your CPMC results with a board-certified genetic counselor, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Learn more about Lupus, from symptoms to understanding your risk, through the links below.

Page References

1. Petri M. Epidemiology of systemic lupus erythematosus. Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology 2002; 16 (5):847-858.
2. Fessel WJ. Systemic lupus erythematosus in the community, incidence, prevalence, outcome and first symptoms: the high prevalence in black women. Arch Int Med 1974; 134:1027-1035.

Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Learn more about Lupus [ Learn More › ]

Risk Factors

Both genetic and non-genetic factors play a role in Lupus  [ Learn More › ]

Reduce Your Risk

Risk-reducing behaviors for Lupus [ Learn More › ]

The CPMC Study

Learn how the CPMC Study identifies your risk for Lupus  [ Learn More › ]