Risk Factors for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

A risk is something that raises your chances of getting a health problem. You can get SLE with or without the ones listed below. The more risks you have, the greater your chance of getting it.

Women who are 15 to 45 years old are at greater risk.

Other things that may raise your risk are:

  • Genes —Your risk may be greater if you have other people in your family who have this.
  • Ethnicity —People who are Black, Native American, Asian, or Hispanic have a higher risk.

SLE is most likely a mix of your genes and the environment. If you have the genes, then SLE may be triggered by:

  • Being around smoke, too much sunlight, or chemicals
  • Bacterial and viral infections—Epstein-Barr virus has been linked to SLE


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Updated June 30, 2016. Accessed August 31, 2018.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated July 20, 2018. Accessed August 31, 2018.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
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Updated February 2018. Accessed August 31, 2018.
What are the risk factors for developing lupus? Lupus Foundation of America website. Available at:
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Accessed September 5, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 9/5/2018

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