Study Sheds Light on the Physical, Emotional and Economic Burden of Lupus
In the first two years after lupus diagnosis, research finds an individual’s number of prescription medications, hospitalizations and sick-leave days significantly increase. The study also confirms that people with lupus have more co-occurring illnesses than the general population, and these other diseases are often identified at the time of lupus diagnosis.
Researchers assessed 571 people diagnosed with lupus in 2016. In that year, the number of co-occurring diagnoses increased significantly more for those who had also received a lupus diagnosis versus those who had not. Among those diagnosed with lupus, nearly half (48%) were also diagnosed with high blood pressure and 30% were diagnosed with depression. Diagnoses of high cholesterol or high triglycerides (fats in the blood linked to heart disease risk), osteoarthritis (joint inflammation) and osteoporosis (bone disease) also notably increased following lupus diagnosis.
Additionally, prescribed medications, hospitalizations and sick leave also significantly increased for people recently diagnosed with lupus compared to those without the disease. For example, in the first year after lupus diagnosis, hospitalizations rose from 13% before diagnosis to 40% in the first year after diagnosis. And two years after diagnosis, the average number of prescriptions almost tripled.
Lupus impacts nearly every aspect of life, and the initial diagnosis can be overwhelming. There are lots of ways to get the support you need, including resources on living with lupus and getting connected with the Lupus Foundation of America’s Health Education Specialists to provide non-medical counseling and disease education.