Lupus Research Institute Applauds Producers of TV Show House for Addressing Lupus in Men in Upcoming Season Premiere

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Episode highlights the importance for men and their physicians to consider lupus diagnosis

Lupus Research Institute (LRI) commends the producers of the popular television show House for once again raising the topic of lupus in men with the opening episode of its eighth season. Lupus diagnosis and misdiagnosis has been a recurring theme on the show with the star, Dr. Gregory House, often scolding his staff with the phrase “it's never lupus.”

This time it just might be. A preview clip of the first House episode of the fall season depicts a physician misdiagnosing a male patient, assuming his symptoms of fever and joint pain indicate gonorrhea. With his trademark confidence, Dr. House informs her that the proper diagnosis is lupus. Whether or not his diagnosis of lupus is correct remains to be seen when the show airs October 3 on Fox-TV.

But regardless of the outcome, the episode highlights the importance for men as well as their physicians to consider lupus as a possible explanation of symptoms that also include overwhelming fatigue and skin rash. Sometimes what looks like lupus really is lupus.

“While lupus is generally considered a young women’s disease, it does not discriminate against men altogether,” said Margaret Dowd, President of the Lupus Research Institute. “Well-researched medical television shows like House contribute significantly to raising public awareness of serious but lesser-known diseases such as lupus, and can help improve detection and early diagnosis.”

The Lupus Research Institute has invested significantly in novel scientific investigations of male lupus with sizeable grants to researchers at UCLA to uncover the genetic issues involved and at Temple University to advance new understanding of kidney disease in men with lupus.

About Lupus
Lupus is a chronic, complex and prevalent autoimmune disease that affects more than 1.5-million Americans. More than 90% of lupus sufferers are women, mostly young women between the ages of 15 to 44. Women of color are especially at risk. In lupus, the immune system, which is designed to protect against infection, creates antibodies that attack the body’s own tissues and organs -- the kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, blood, skin, and joints. Lupus is difficult to diagnose, difficult to treat, and is a leading cause of premature cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and stroke among young women. While there is no known cause or cure, the progress of recent discoveries is highly promising.

Common Lupus Symptoms:

  •     Swollen, stiff, and painful joints
  •     Fever over 100 degrees F
  •     Fatigue
  •     Rashes on the skin and/or sensitivity to the sun
  •     Swelling around the ankles
  •     Chest pain with deep breaths
  •     Unusual hair loss
  •     Pale or purple fingers from cold or stress
  •     Mouth ulcers, often painless

About the Lupus Research Institute
The Lupus Research Institute (LRI), the world’s leading private supporter of innovative research in lupus, pioneers discovery and champions scientific creativity in the hunt for solutions to this complex and dangerous autoimmune disease. Founded by families and shaped by leading scientists, the LRI mandates sound science and rigorous peer review to uncover and support only the highest ranked novel research to prevent, treat and cure lupus.

With its National Coalition of state and local lupus organizations, the LRI is dedicated to finding new and safer options for treating the disease by improving the design of clinical studies and promoting broad participation in clinical trials. Visit for more information about the Lupus Research Institute.


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Kristen Teesdale
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