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Study Shows Anxiety is Often an Ongoing Issue for People with Lupus
New research sheds further light on the emotional toll lupus takes on those living with this disease. More than half (54%) of study participants struggled with moderate-to-severe anxiety, with little change in anxiety symptoms over time. Black participants with lupus were also disproportionately affected by anxiety.
Researchers analyzed data from 139 people with lupus, including their disease activity scores and anxiety symptoms. Study participants were predominantly female (90.6%), and just over half (56.1%) were of Black race, with an average age of 40 years. At baseline, average anxiety symptoms were slightly above average for a general adult population. Anxiety levels stayed very stable over time, and people fell into one of four categories over about 40 months:
- Low anxiety: 19%
- Average anxiety: 27%
- Moderate anxiety: 41%
- High anxiety: 13%
People of Black race were more than twice as likely to experience higher levels of anxiety compared to people of White race. Higher levels of depression were also associated with higher anxiety scores. Interestingly, anxiety symptoms were not linked to lupus disease activity over time.
In the U.S., it’s estimated that anxiety is nearly twice as common among people with lupus compared to the general population, and mental health support is extremely important in the overall management of lupus. Learn about managing stress when you have lupus.