Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Lupus in Men

While females are much more likely to be diagnosed with lupus than males, 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.2,3,4

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

Klinefelter syndrome and lupus

Klinefelter syndrome is a condition in which a male gets an extra X chromosome. Males usually get an X chromosome from their mother and a Y chromosome from their father, 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 than normal males. Men with Klinefelter syndrome also tend to have a more serious disease than women with lupus, but less severe than other men.2

Written by: Jessica Johns Pool | Last reviewed: January 2020
  1. Lupus Foundation of America. Does lupus occur in men? Available at https://www.lupus.org/resources/does-lupus-occur-in-men. Accessed on 8/1/3/19.
  2. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Epidemiology. Female-to-male-ratio. Available at https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/332244-overview#a5. Accessed on 8/1/3/19.
  3. Gergianaki I, Bertsias G. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in Primary Care: An Update and Practical Messages for the General Practitioner. Front Med (Lausanne). 2018;5:161. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2018.00161.
  4. do Socorro Teixeira Moreira Almeida M, da Costa Arcoverde J, Barros Jacobino MN, Coimbra Neto AR. Male systemic lupus erythematosus, an overlooked diagnosis. Clin Pract. 2011;1(4):e103. Published 2011 Nov 8. doi:10.4081/cp.2011.e103.
  5. Medscape. Klinefelter Syndrome. Available at https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/945649-overview. Accessed on 8/1/3/19.