Although lupus mainly affects women, it is does not exclusively affect women. Men can be diagnosed with lupus when they are a baby, in their teenage years or even in their adulthood.
Although lupus presents itself in a similar way in men and women, research has shown that men may suffer from more intense symptoms than women. Because lupus in men is so much less common, there is still so much research that needs to be done.
In this blog we will answer some of the questions that you may have about lupus in men.
Is lupus more severe in men?
The answer is yes, in some cases it can be. Men usually present with a number of different symptoms. Some of the most common include:
· Kidney (renal) disease
· Pleurisy (lung)
· Discoid lupus (skin)
· Lupus anticoagulant and haemolytic anaemia (blood)
· Seizures (neurological)
The exact cause for this is unknown, however it is thought to be linked to the different male and female sex hormones; oestrogen on women and androgen in men.
It is important to note that men with lupus are less likely to develop Sjögren's syndrome, fibromyalgia, and arthritis. Although problems with skin is a possible symptom, it is very rare that men get a butterfly rash.
What are the differences that men with lupus face compared to women?
Anyone with lupus can go years without a clear explanation of their symptoms. Furthermore, because lupus is more commonly found in women, it can take even longer for a man to get a diagnosis.
It is important that we work towards changing this so that men with lupus can have a better quality of life.
When are men most likely to be diagnosed with lupus?
Men tend to peak later than women, roughly between the ages of 45-60. However as mentioned before, men can be diagnosed with lupus at any age.
Does lupus affect your testosterone levels?
The disease itself does not affect your testosterone levels, sex drive or possibilities of becoming a father. Some of the medications that are used to treat lupus can however have an effect. Talk to your doctor about your future plans so that they can come up with the right treatment plan for you.