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November 30, 2007 at 8:31 PMComments: 21 Faves: 2

Is Lupus Hereditary?

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the immune system attacks the body's own tissues instead of just foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Although it's not fully understood what causes autoimmune diseases like lupus, it is thought that there are two components: genetic predisposition and environment.

Genetic predisposition

  • Lupus is not hereditary, insofar as the disease itself isn't passed from parent to child. It is hereditary in that a predisposition to developing the disease is passed down from parent to child. It is important to recognize this distinction. Not everyone with a parent who has lupus will develop the disease itself, and children can develop the disease even if neither of their parents has lupus.
  • Only about 5% of children of people with lupus will develop the disease themselves.


If the genetic predisposition exists in a person, then lupus can be triggered. It is thought that environmental causes like disease, drugs, or viruses can trigger lupus.

Environmental Lupus Triggers:

  • Infections, especially Epstein-Barr virus
  • Sulfa and penicillin antibiotics
  • Ultraviolet light
  • High levels of stress
  • Hormones
  • Medication, especially certain ones for cardiac arrhythmia and hypertension (high blood pressure)

Who is at risk for Lupus?

There are some factors that can increase your chances of developing lupus.

  • Females account for 90% of lupus cases
  • Females between the ages of 15 and 45 account for 80% of diagnoses of lupus
  • People of African, Asian, or native American heritage tend to be more likely to develop the disease
  • 1 in 1,000 Caucasian women develop lupus
  • 1 in 250 African American women develop lupus

What are the symptoms of lupus?

Since the symptoms can be tricky, Lupus is usually a very difficult disease to diagnose. Lupus has many symptoms, and they do not all occur in every patient. Often, symptoms associated with lupus can be mistaken for other diseases, or the normal aches and pains of aging. Additionally, there are four different varieties of lupus: systemic (meaning throughout the body), cutaneous (affecting the skin only), drug-induced, and neonatal.

Common lupus symptoms:

  • Pain and inflammation of the joints and muscles
  • Rash on the face in a butterfly shape over the cheeks and nose
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Arthritis
  • Anemia
  • Kidney diseases
  • Photosensitivity
  • Mouth lesions
  • Hair loss
  • Blood clotting problems
  • Seizures

If you have more than one or two of these symptoms, you might have lupus, and you should see your health practitioner immediately.


  • There are many treatments available for lupus.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, aspirin, and Aleve are commonly used), antimalarials, and corticosteroids are all used to treat lupus.
  • Additionally, a healthy diet and an active lifestyle will help to alleviate many lupus symptoms.
  • Fish oil supplements have shown promising results for lupus sufferers, as well.


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  • This was interesting.

  • I am taking care of a boy right now temporarily who has lupus. At this time he is not in school. Can anyone tell me why he can't attend school? Is the pain that bad every day? And he is also on morphine, which totally blew me away. His mom is addicted to rx drugs and red flags are popping up all over the place. Please someone help me understand! Can someone with lupus attend school? He is 14 and should be in 8th grade, but is way behind.

  • Laura, I can't speak to how painful Lupus can or cannot be, but I would imagine that being on Morphine would be enough to keep him from school. I was on it temporarily after having surgery and I was so foggy I could barely stay awake, and don't quite remember much of anything from those few days in the hospital. Maybe if there was a way to manage the pain without those side-effects, he could attend school, but I really don't know all that much about Lupus so I can't say for certain.

  • Laura one of my friends has lupus and he can attend school he got medicene besides somthing like morphine to take care of the pain and he got his flare ups down somehow but for about a year they had him on things like morphine and he couldn't hardly do anything.

  • I just found out this morning that my last blood work done at my arthritis doctor's office revealed I am positive for lupus. I have been in such pain the last three days I haven't been able to lie down, sleep or walk. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia about 20 years ago. They told me what I'm going through is a flare up and may mean the lupus and fibro are working together to make this much pain. I'm on some meds now and am feeling some relief already. I've been really sick for about 2 1/2 years and no one could come up with what is wrong. I just want to be able to live again. Thanks for listening.

  • Janice it will get better I'll have lupus for about two years now and it took two years for them to find out what was going on in this body. So hold on it will get better.

  • wow! this sure is a scary topic, but interesting.

  • I haven't been diagnosed with lupus... I have tested positive for ANA but have not been able to afford to go see a rheumatologist. My doctor does not want to help me and I can't get any doctor to help me. I am always in pain, fatigued, and feeling weak. Now, I don't know if those are all symptoms but my doctor has suggested lupus. I am going out of my mind! I just want my life back to normal. Does anyone have any ideas on what I can do?

  • I have not been tested for lupus but I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and I will be 28 this year...I am in a lot of pain and allergic to mostly every antibiotic out there and ibuprofen as well...I have an appointment with a new doctor next month hopefully she can figure something out. I hope yall get the help you need..God bless

  • Lupus is an insidious disease. I have researched my family tree and found eerie comparisons with the deaths of my family members from the early part of the 20th century could be associated with Lupus. My first cousin died of the disease and my aunts and uncle also. To say that this is not hereditary is foolish. My grandmother also had it and was a carrier along with my grandfather. They immigrated from Hungary and I believe that there are a lot more cases in the European countries than here in the USA.

  • I have mitro valve regurgitation, arthritis, seizures and I am tired all the time. My hands hurt me so much that it wakes me up my fingers are stiff and sore I have to move them around to stop the pain. Leg's hurt from hip's to my toe's especially at night.. My daughter has lupus. I'm beginning to think that I have it too.

  • I have lupus since 04 I am now 35 yrs old .I just found out my only duaghter has lupus she is only 15 yrs. That really hurts to find out your duaghter has lupus because I don't want my girl to go through what I am going through but I got to keep strong for her.

  • When I was 30 I was diagnosed with lupus, anxiety, depression, low vitamin d & b 12, rheumatoid arthritis know I'm 32 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia to I'm on 10 different medications 6 are for the stuff above and 4 are for asthma and allergies and I take vitamins to all of this everyday and some medicine 2 a day I'm in pain most of the time I don't like it but I have to live with it I don't have a choice.

  • I feel for anyone with lupus, my mother an uncle have it. The doctors feel I have it but no luck with the blood test. Apparently one will only test positive during a flare up.....god bless anyone with thisrn

  • I just found out my granddaughter was diagnosed with lupus she's 13 yrs old and after reading about all the symptoms I swallow of them I've been having for the longest time like hair loss ,fatigue,I'm constantly tired after doing the simplest task like washing dishes or laundry, and I'm in pain it seems every part of my body ,my joints like my knees get so stiff when I walk and brings more pain. My doctor never has time to listen to my complaints I just want to find out what's going on I can't live like this it's just to much

  • Has any of you heard about Laminine? It's listed as a dietary supplement and its from lifepharm global network.....I'm in Guyana, South America and we've been using it for patients with various forms of cancer, Hep C, diabetes, HIV, it's not a drug that cures anything. It has the fibroblast growth factor that boosts your stem cells and helps your body repair itself.....try it maybe will comes in four parts, plain laminine, immune, digestive and omega+++.......would not advise patients with lupus to use the immune.......try the plain laminine and omega +++...trusting God that you'll get great results....

  • I was diagnosed with Lupus SLE when I was 15 years old and with the grace of god I will be celebrating my 36th birthday- April 30th. All of your stories seem rather familiar to what I have experienced over the years. I am always tired, feeling stiff and as of a couple of years ago I have been super sensitive to sun light hence the butterfly rash (as they say) on the bridge of my nose and basically anywhere in which could be exposed to the sun. Another change that I have experienced is that a large of amount of my hair had fallen out which caused me to cut my long hair hoping that it will eventually grow back, but slowly it is, but hasn't gain the thickness that it once had. For me this horrible sickness has drastically changed my life, but I refuse to just lay down and let this take over I want to live and I deserve to. As far as this being hereditary I can't say that I am on board with that as no one in my family till this day has this sickness (and believe me I have searched for answers). In my case Lupus likes to try and focus on destroying my kidney in which gladly I have always caught it before it was able to do any damage. I am currently on 10 medications in the morning (3 being kidney meds) and 4 at night. I have been at a point where I am sick of taking meds altogether, but then realize that I have children and family that love me and want to see me around for a long time and have a chance to succeed in life. Yes, I have a son that is 8 and a daughter that is 4 and they're day in and day out my motivation to continue on. I commend all of you for sharing your stories as I have a story to tell also and at least if it reaches one person and helps them out even if it's to get through the day then it was worth me coming to this website and sharing. I know a lot of you that are diagnosed with lupus are always fatigue, but what helps me is not to think about it and always try and keep yourself busy- trust me I am living proof- I work a full-time job; keep up with my children; go to college part-time and also work a per-diem position all while cleaning and cooking as maintaining a household and a husband. Let this sickness know that you're in control of your life and it's not allowed to control you- Bless you all just know there is at least one person going through a similar battle so don't give up.

  • I fear that I may have lupus. One of my dad''s sisters and both of his sisters' daughters (my cousins) have it. My mom had hyperparathyroidism which can also explain some symptoms but not hair loss or edema. I have symptoms of both conditions but haven't been able to afford testing and specialists for either. Aread there particular foods to consume or avoid to help with any of the aches, pains, tiredness etc??

  • I believe that lupus is hereditary. My two grandmothers, uncle, two aunts and my first cousin all died from complications of lupus or lupus itself. This a very devastating desease. Also, I belive that countries of origin could be a major factor with this desease.

  • I believe that lupus is hereditary. My two grandmothers, uncle, two aunts and my first cousin all died from complications of lupus or lupus itself. This a very devastating desease. Also, I belive that countries of origin could be a major factor with this desease.

  • If the genetic predisposition exists in a person, then lupus can be triggered. It is thought that environmental causes like disease, drugs, or viruses can trigger lupus.

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