Epidemiology

It is difficult to find reliable epidemiological data on DLE. Most studies are performed by either rheumatologists or dermatologists; hence, in the absence of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), DLE tends to be under-reported by rheumatologists and over-reported by dermatologists. Studies before 1979 did not distinguish between DLE and subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE); therefore, it is difficult to interpret the true prevalence or incidence of classic DLE. The most common age of onset of DLE is between 20 and 40 years.[4] It affects both females and males, with a slight female predominance. The female-to-male ratio has been reported between 3:2 and 2:1 compared with 12:1 in SLE.[5] Unlike SLE, there does not seem to be any racial predisposition to DLE. However, reports in the US suggest that DLE may be slightly more common in black Americans than in white Americans.[6]

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