Supporting People in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods is Needed to Reduce Lupus Health Disparities
According to new research, living in a disadvantaged neighborhood is the strongest predictor of receiving infrequent lupus care. People with lupus residing in under-resourced neighborhoods were significantly less likely to have had at least two outpatient rheumatology visits or at least two lupus lab tests over a one-year period. No significant difference in care retention was found based on race, ethnicity, sex or age. However, non-smokers and people with more lupus signs and symptoms were significantly more likely to receive care throughout the year.
The study assessed 397 people with lupus, all of whom had established care with a rheumatologist. Of those enrolled in the study, 91% were female, 56% were white, 39% were African American, and 5% were Hispanic/Latino. Notably, 51% of African American versus 5% of white participants resided in the most disadvantaged areas. Disadvantaged neighborhoods were defined by the Area Deprivation Index, which evaluates multiple neighborhood characteristics, like education, employment, housing quality, transportation and poverty.
The findings show that living in a disadvantaged neighborhood is a strong predictor of poor retention in lupus care, and the authors suggest that future lupus support programs could target these underserved areas to help reduce health disparities among people living with the disease. Living well with lupus is possible and getting proper care and support is essential. Find support near you.