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November 1972

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in the Elderly

Author Affiliations

Toledo, Ohio

From the Division of Rheumatology, Toledo Clinic, and the Medical College of Ohio at Toledo.

Arch Intern Med. 1972;130(5):743-746. doi:10.1001/archinte.1972.03650050067012

Nine of 86 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) were diagnosed after the age of sixty. They differ from younger patients with SLE in mode of onset, specific organ systems involved, severity of disease, and prognosis. The presentation in the elderly is insidious rather than acute. Most patients initially show a polymyalgia rheumatica syndrome or rheumatoid-like arthritis. The clinical course is benign, serositis is less common, the patients are more easily controlled on aspirin or low-dose steroids, and the progress of SLE in the elderly is relatively slow. Because age modifies the clinical expression of SLE the diagnosis in the elderly can be easily missed if not specifically searched for.

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