Racial Discrimination Linked to Inflammation in Black Women with Lupus
Previous research shows that there are substantial racial disparities that contribute to the burden of lupus. In a new study, researchers found an association between racial discrimination and increased inflammation in Black women with lupus.
380 Black women with lupus participated in the Black Women’s Experiences Living with Lupus (BeWELL) study. Over a two-year period, study participants self-reported incidents of racial discrimination twice per year using the Experiences of Discrimination questionnaire – which includes nine areas about where they may have experienced racial discrimination, such as at school or work, when receiving medical care or in a public setting. Additionally, the participants were tested for changes in inflammation, specifically levels of the inflammatory biomarker C-reactive protein (CRP) in their blood, once per year. Researchers found that each experience of racial discrimination was tied to a nearly 4% increase in CRP levels.
Previous studies have also found that experiencing racial discrimination can generate a variety of psychobiological responses which contribute to health risks, including inflammation, for members of underrepresented groups such as Black Americans.
Black women, specifically, tend to have the highest prevalence of lupus in the United States and experience greater disease severity compared to white women. This study further highlights the role that racial discrimination plays in contributing to inequitable health outcomes for underrepresented groups in America.
Learn more about health disparities and social determinants of health and the LFA’s work through its Lupus AIM (Addressing health Inequities in Minorities) program.
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