Apr. 19, 2018

Lupus Foundation of America Supported Grant Finds Lupus is an Unrecognized Cause of Death in Women

A Lupus Foundation of America funded study concludes that lupus is among the leading causes of death in young women. Findings from this recently published study reported an astonishing 28,411 female deaths due to lupus between 2000 and 2015, ranking it as the 10th leading cause of death for women ages 15-24.  The study, led by UCLA researchers Drs. Eric Y. Yen and Ram R Singh used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research database to determine the number of women who lost their lives to lupus in the United States.

Yen and Singh found that overall, lupus was among the top 20 leading causes of death in females ages 5-64. Among black and Hispanic women lupus ranked 5th in the 15-24 years, 6th in the 25-34 years, and 8th-9th in the 35-44 years age groups, after excluding the three common external injury causes of death from analysis. These findings continue to underscore the burden of disease minority women with lupus experience and also demonstrate that lupus is a concerning public health issue for women overall.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can impact any part of the body. It affects millions of people worldwide and is challenging to live with and extremely difficult to treat. Despite the widespread prevalence of lupus and seriousness of the disease, lupus is rarely recognized as one of the leading-causes-of-death in young women. Instead, many lupus deaths are attributed to consequences such as kidney failure and heart attacks.

This eye opening study promotes disease awareness and highlights the seriousness of this potentially life-threatening disease. Currently, lupus is not in the CDC’s annual selected list of causes of death for women. Recognizing this burden may influence government policy, research funding, and persuade doctors to list the disease as the cause of death.

Learn more about this study by reading the available abstract.

The Relative Burden of Lupus Mortality Lupus- An Unrecognized Leading Cause of Death in Young Women: Population-based Study Using Nationwide Death Certificates, 2000-2015.
Eric Y. Yen, MD, MS1, Ram R. Singh, MD1,2,3,4
Arthritis & Rheumatology