Feb. 12, 2014

Lupus Epidemiological Studies

The authors outline the necessity to update Lupus epidemiological studies in order to accurately assess the “public health burden and the status of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) care in the US” for defined populations at risk (Bartels & Ramsey-Goldman, 2014). They also mention that the SLE population fails to include mild cases that may have been overlooked and also patients with limited access to care may not be accounted for. These factors lead to an inaccurate representation of individuals currently living with SLE. The authors share also that varying rates of SLE can be attributed to the differences in methodology and these differences emphasize the need to update Lupus epidemiology.  The lack of update in relevant information makes it difficult to accurately assess important health disparities and simply underrepresents the SLE population to date.


The article provides evidence of two studies sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recently conducted using similar methods in two comparable urban populations; one performed in Atlanta, the other in Detroit. They reviewed all pediatric and adult cases of SLE encountered between 2002 and 2004 in hospitals, dermatology, nephrology, and rheumatology clinics, pathology and laboratory center and the US Renal Data System for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). In these two studies, nearly identical rates of incidence (new cases of a disease in a population) and prevalence (new and old cases of a disease present in a population) were found. Both studies confirmed “heightened SLE incidence and severity in young black women, including far more cases of ESRD” (2014). Though there has been found to be a disproportionate number of renal diseases existing in the black American population due to a combination of genetic factors, comorbidities and socioeconomic challenges, the finding of a higher rate of ESRD in young black women highlight the need to prioritize research agendas and rheumatology care quality in attempts to lessen this result.
These studies have provided a method to obtain a reliable SLE denominator which encompasses an accurate spectrum of SLE at the population level that can be used to “examine strategies to detect, reverse and prevent SLE complications” and way to specialize the quality of care for the health disparities specific to each population examined.

Editorial: Updates in US Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Epidemiology: Tales of Two Cities

The Incidence and Prevalence of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, 2002–2004: The Georgia Lupus Registry

Population-Based Incidence and Prevalence of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus The Michigan Lupus Epidemiology and Surveillance Program