Study Finds Lupus Manifests Differently and More Severely Among Racial and Ethnic Groups
In the US, lupus is most prevalent among women and racial/ethnic minority groups. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funds a network of national lupus registries in select counties throughout the country. Researchers studied 774 people with lupus in the California Lupus Surveillance Project in the San Francisco area to investigate racial/ethnic differences in the prevalence of lupus manifestations and in the risk and timing of development of severe lupus manifestations.
In comparison to whites, Blacks, Asian-Pacific Islanders (APIs) and Hispanics developed more renal (kidney), neurologic (nervous system) and hematologic (blood disorder) manifestations. Blacks exhibited increased neurologic manifestations, and both Blacks and APIs had increased hematologic manifestations in comparison to whites. Blacks, APIs, and Hispanics, respectively, had higher risk of developing lupus nephritis (LN) and thrombocytopenia. APIs and Hispanics had higher risk of developing antiphospholipid syndrome. And, all these groups developed these severe manifestations sooner than whites, within the first year after disease onset. Men also developed LN and thrombocytopenia earlier than women.
Study author, Maria Dall’Era, division of rheumatology, University of California San Francisco, and Lupus Foundation of America Medical-Scientific Advisory Council member, notes, “This study builds upon our understanding of the burden of lupus and severe lupus manifestations among racial and ethnic minority groups. As an example, lupus nephritis is the most common organ-threatening manifestation of lupus and leads to significant morbidity and mortality. Future studies will address the underlying reasons for these health disparities in racial and ethnic minorities and, importantly, how these disparities can be mitigated. In this way, we can improve the health and lives of people living with lupus.”
This is the first study to use rigorous epidemiologic methods to compare lupus manifestations across four racial/ethnic groups, including APIs and Hispanics, two understudied populations. The results support the importance of clinicians’ increased awareness of lupus and its accelerated progression for these racial/ethnic groups. Learn about risk factors for developing lupus.