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Lupus (SLE) is a very rare condition with symptoms ranging from mild to very severe. Many people experience flare-ups, where their symptoms become worse, in between long periods where symptoms are mild or disappear altogether (remission), when a person may not need treatment. Lupus is normally diagnosed in hospital.

The following data are estimated from patients consulting general practice with an active problem of lupus over a year.

How common is lupus in the UK?

Lupus is more common in women than men, with around seven times as many women as men having the condition. It's more common in some ethnic groups, particularly those of African origin.

 Group Prevalence UK estimate 
 Males  0.01%  3,000
 Females  0.071%  21,900
 All  0.041%  24,700


Occurence of lupus in the UK by age and gender


 Age group Prevalence UK estimate 
 10–19  2  70
 20–29  4  160
 30–39  10  430
 40–49  9  370
 50–59  17  650
 60–69  20  570
 70–79  26  500
 80+  4  40


 Age group Prevalence UK estimate 
 10–19  11 400 
 20–29  39  1,530
 30–39  76  3,310
 40–49  98  4,340
 50–59  140  5,340
 60–69  120  3,650
 70–79  85  2,010
 80+  34  610



1.    Nightingale AL, Farmer RD, de Vries CS. Systemic lupus erythematosus prevalence in the UK: methodological issues when using the General Practice Research Database to estimate frequency of chronic relapsing-remitting disease. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 2007; 16(2):144–51.

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