Lupus And Life Expectancy

There is no cure for lupus, and so many new patients often ask the question, “how long one can live with lupus.” 

Lupus was very deadly before, sometime around 1955. Nearly 50% of the people diagnosed with the disease could live for more than four years.

Recent surveys demonstrated that several people with lupus have been living for up to 40 years.

What Is Lupus?

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system transforms itself from a ‘defender’ to an ‘attacker’. It becomes hyperactive and attacks its own normal, healthy tissue.

Scientists believe that the retention rate of people with SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus) has enhanced for the following reasons:

  • Improvement in the categorization of patients
  • Early diagnosis
  • Incorporation of milder cases
  • Better treatment alternatives
  • Advancements in the treatment of infections, hypertension, and renal failure, including renal transplantation and dialysis. 

The organs affected and the symptoms may vary from person to person. Researchers are not yet sure about the definite lupus causes, but they believe that the reasons could be associated with hormonal imbalance, genetic conditions, and environmental factors. 

The lupus symptoms break out suddenly and can either worsen your symptoms or make grounds for new signs.

Have a look at some of the most common symptoms of lupus:

  • A butterfly-shaped rash over the nose bridge and cheeks
  • Protein or blood in the urine
  • Sores in the nose or mouth that can persist from a few weeks to several months
  • Inflammation of the lungs or heart that causes chest pain while breathing 
  • Arthritis
  • Abnormal blood test results

How Lupus Affects Body Organs?

Lupus affects almost every organ of the body. The way its complications are handled plays a significant role in improving the quality of life. 

Some of the most common ways how it affects different body organs are listed below:


When the inflammation occurs in the brain, it can cause some of the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Poor concentration
  • Meningitis
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Irritability


Severe cases of lupus are treated very vigorously, and so deaths from the disease and kidney-related disorders are significantly low. Still, people are at high risk of heart diseases. 

Lupus causes inflammation of the heart. Therefore, even the younger patients of lupus become prone to heart attacks and other artery diseases. 

With the inflammation of the inner lining of the heart, lupus disease can also lead to chest pain( or pericarditis).


One of the most commonly affected organs in lupus is the kidneys. Lasting inflammation can damage the organ from inside. The scarring of a significant portion of kidney hampers its functioning. If you have lupus, don’t overlook the significance of kidney analysis. Early diagnosis and adequate treatment can prevent kidney failure

The condition in which lupus affects kidneys is termed as lupus nephritis. At Least 1 in 3 people with lupus generally suffer from this disease. Some of the symptoms of the condition are listed below:

  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Blood in the urine
  • Puffiness in the hands, legs, ankles, and feet

Studies suggest that kidney diseases can elevate the risk for several life-threatening conditions like stroke, heart attack and may lead to complete failure of the kidney. 


Lupus causes inflammation around the lining of the lungs in some patients. The condition is generally referred to as pleuritis. 

When the inflammation disperses in the lungs itself, the organ can get scarred. It causes the bloodstream to absorb less amount of oxygen than usual. 

Also Read: Hypothermia: Everything About It


The risk of inflammatory arthritis is high for people living with lupus. It causes swelling and stiffness of the smaller joints in the hands. Large bones of the body remain protected from this type of arthritis. 


Many people who have lupus develop blood disorders. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Anemia – blood becomes short of red blood cells
  • Vasculitis – Inflammation of blood vessels
  • Thrombosis – formation of blood clots
  • Thrombocytopenia – causes low platelet counts
  • Neutropenia and leukopenia – cause low levels of white blood cells 


With lupus, you can experience some symptoms in the mouth. Mouth sores or ulcers are among the most common symptoms occurring in about 4-45% of people with lupus. 

Drugs used for lupus treatment such as corticosteroids can provide you with several side effects, including mouth dryness, swelling, cold sores, and yeast infections.


Most people with lupus experience eye issues. It includes:

  • Impaired vision
  • Vision loss
  • Cataract
  • Damage to the nerves that control vision and eye movement
  • Variations in blood vessels of the retina
  • Changes in the skin enveloping eyes
  • Inflammation of the protective film of the eye
  • Inability to produce enough tears due to Sjogren’s syndrome

Digestive System

The inflammation can extend to the digestive system and affect some organs like the liver and pancreas.

Many people with lupus experience some digestive problems due to the effect of the disease or because of the medication used for the treatment.



Tags: Stage 4 lupus life expectancy, Untreated lupus life expectancy, Life with lupus

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.