Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Will I get lupus if someone in my family has it?"
My aunt has lupus, according to my dad. What is this? I don't really understand. He said its a disease. I'm 19 year old, female and I'm scared because its in my family I'll get it to.
Lupus (short of systemic lupus erythematosus) is a disease where the body's immune system attacks different organs of the body. It can cause various different health problems such as skin rashes, heart problems, and kidney problems. The treatment for lupus depends on the severity, and what symptoms are present. Unfortunately, we don't understand why certain people develop lupus and others don't. While genetics and family history does play some role, lupus is not considered an inherited disease. Since neither your father, nor your mother has it, you are much less likely to get it than you may think. An aunt having the disease probably increases your risk a small amount, but not enough that you should worry that you are going to get it. Keep in mind that lupus is not an extremely common condition like high blood pressure or diabetes. I think your next best step should be to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can examine you for any signs of lupus. If anything is concerning, then your doctor will send off a blood test looking for anti-nuclear antibodies. These are present in people with lupus. In the mean time, I would not worry too much about it, especially if you don't have any current symptoms.
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