Lupus in Men

While women are much more likely to be diagnosed, men do develop lupus. Between 4 percent and 22 percent of the 1.5 million people living with lupus are male, according to the Lupus Foundation of America. The rate of lupus in men seems to be increasing.1,3

Differences between men and women with lupus

Lupus is usually diagnosed later in men than in women, often between ages 50 and 70. Doctors think that men may receive a later diagnosis because lupus is considered a “woman’s disease.”

Men with lupus generally develop the same type of symptoms as women, with a few differences. The most common symptoms between both sexes are skin rash, extreme fatigue (tiredness), and joint pain. Both sexes experience flares and remissions, sometimes mild and sometimes moderate to severe. However, compared to women, men tend to have more serious kidney, serositis (inflammation of the tissues lining major organs), central nervous system, vascular (blood vessel) disease, and skin issues.2-4

It is still unclear how lupus may be different in men compared to in women. Some studies found that men have more seizures, immune-related anemia, thrombogenesis, and chest pain (pleuritis), but less dry eye (Sjogren’s syndrome). Other studies found little statistical difference between the symptoms of the sexes.

Klinefelter syndrome and lupus

Klinefelter syndrome is a condition in which a man gets an extra X chromosome. Men usually get one X chromosome each from their mothers and one Y chromosome each from their fathers, but those with Klinefelter syndrome are XXY, which is also known as karyotype 47,XXY.5

Klinefelter syndrome causes several health issues, including a higher risk of developing lupus. Men with Klinefelter syndrome also tend to have a more serious form of the disease than women with lupus do, but a less severe condition than the lupus of other men.2

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

Written by: Jessica Johns Pool | Last reviewed: January 2020