To some degree, lupus can be considered a hereditary disease. Studies among lupus patients with an identical twin have shown that there is a 25 percent chance for the other twin to catch lupus. For a lupus patient with a fraternal twin, there is a 2 to 3 percent chance for the other twin to get lupus. 1
Based on the evidence presented, genetics definitely plays a role, but there are plenty of other factors to consider. Lupus can even form even if you have no twin or relatives that don't have any autoimmune disease.
If you're undergoing a diagnosis for lupus, you should tell your doctor if you have a relative who has a history of lupus or another autoimmune disease, because that information can help them immensely. It is also important to take note of all the symptoms you have been experiencing to get a proper treatment plan.
Lupus Is NOT Contagious
Lupus is an autoimmune disease, meaning that there is a problem with how your immune system functions. Therefore, lupus does not involve viruses or bacteria that can spread to other people.
You also can't get or give lupus via sexual contact.2 It's actually possible to have children even if you have lupus. As an example, Seal is diagnosed with discoid lupus but was able to father three healthy children.3
Women Have a Higher Risk, but Men Are in Danger Too
Women have a higher chance of getting lupus, with symptoms appearing between ages 15 to 44, and 90 percent of recorded cases being attributed to them.4 There is no clear explanation why women have a higher risk of lupus, but it is theorized that the high amount of estrogen they produce triggers this illness.
While men have a lower risk of lupus, that doesn't mean they should be lax when it comes to their health. The same principle of healthy eating and proper exercise applies to them if they wish to reduce their risk of lupus.
Ethnicity Influences Your Chances of This Illness
Evidence has shown that your ethnicity can also influence your chances of getting lupus. Minority groups such as African-American, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders such as Hawaiians have a higher chance of developing lupus than other ethnicities.5
Referencing the 1993 study “Lupus in Minorities: Nature Versus Nurture (LUMINA),” the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation notes that diseases as a result of lupus are also higher in minority groups, with African-American women and Latinas having a high chance of developing kidney disease.6
If you belong to either of those groups, this information can be helpful since you can take the necessary precautions to lower your chances of kidney disease from happening.
Again, there is no solid evidence as to why minority groups are more affected by lupus than other groups. If you belong to a minority group, you should take the statistics into consideration seriously and make the necessary changes to your lifestyle. In doing so, you can lower your risk of getting lupus and possibly other diseases.