You’ve probably heard the numbers—9 out of 10 people with lupus are female. But if you’re a man that has been diagnosed with lupus, the numbers don’t really matter. Your lupus is just as difficult to live with as a woman’s.
Some men struggle with the idea that they have a disease that is mostly diagnosed in women, when in fact the diagnosis has no connection to manliness and should not be considered in this way.
What it does mean is that information on the disease that’s valuable to you may be harder to find. This page is a good place to start, but you should also talk to your doctor about more resources specifically for men with lupus.
While no two cases of lupus are alike, most of the time the disease develops—and is treated—in the same way in men and women. In people under the age 18 and over the age of 50, as many males as females have lupus. Be sure to see your doctor regularly and take your medications on time each day.
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After first being diagnosed, you will likely notice some changes in your physical abilities and the way you look. Pain and fatigue from lupus can cause frustrating limitations—you may have to cut back on heavy lifting and physically intensive work. And it can be difficult to deal with side effects from medicines for lupus, such as hair loss and weight gain.
Depression, exhaustion, and pain from lupus also can get in the way of sexual relations, though the disease will not likely affect your ability to father children.
Men typically also have to deal with living up to the expectations of being a physically strong and capable provider. Because lupus can cause such exhaustion and other physical problems—many of which can’t always be seen by others—people may unfairly call men with lupus weak or lazy. Not being able to work full-time because of illness can be especially hard. It is important to build up a support network to help you deal with these issues.
There are many men in the Los Angeles area and around the country dealing with the same difficult issues as you are—know that you are not alone and that there is support whenever you need it.
You may find it helpful to talk to a counselor or to join a support group in your area. Lupus LA is here for you. Please call us at (310) 657-5667 to talk about what you’re going through and to learn more about our patient services.