Honoring Black History Month 2023
This February for Black History Month, the Lupus Foundation of America focuses on sharing stories about the Black lupus experience. Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by lupus and can be at higher risk for certain symptoms. By elevating Black voices of those living with lupus, we can highlight the need for advancements in research, educational resources, and access to care and treatments for people in these communities.
Black Americans – as well as Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders – have a greater risk of developing lupus. Lupus is a devastating and complex disease that knows no racial or ethnic boundaries, but is especially severe in the Black community. Black, or African descendant people are 2-3 times more likely to develop systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) than other people. Once SLE develops, Black patients are more likely to develop comorbidities or chronic disease complications. For example, approximately 1 in 250 Black women will develop lupus at a younger age with more complications. The rate of kidney failure, degree of organ damage and prevalence of cardiovascular disease is unacceptably high in Black populations with lupus.
Moreover, Black lupus patients are less likely to have continuous access to rheumatologists and therefore SLE medications. Interruptions in care often leave patients reliant on emergency services during flare-ups where they can be over-exposed to glucocorticoids like prednisone – which if taken at high doses for extended periods of time, increases cardiovascular risk. Improving access to care is the single most important intervention for ensuring Black patients with lupus live long and healthy lives.
We at the Lupus Foundation of America encourage everyone to take time to educate yourself, your family and your friends about lupus. The more you know, the better you will be able to seek a diagnosis and manage and cope with this disease. In honor of this month, we are highlighting a wide variety of resources, including:
- Sharing your own story with Voices of Lupus
- How to find local lupus support groups
- Frequently Asked Questions about Participating in Clinical Trials
- National Resource Center on Lupus Article, Lupus and Hair Loss
- Inside Lupus Research Article, Cardiovascular Disease Incidence and Disparities in People with Lupus
- LFA Ambassador, Curtisha Anderson's Featured Story
- Contacting a Health Education Specialist for free non-medical support, education and resources
- Our free online lupus self-management program, SELF
- Financial assistance resources