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Women with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus give birth to fewer children
Date:2/16/2012

New research shows that more than half of women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have fewer children than desired. While patient choice has some influence on the smaller family size, findings published today in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), suggest that higher rates of infertility and miscarriage may also impact the number of offspring born to women with these chronic conditions.

According to the ACR up to 322,000 U.S. adults have systemic lupusa disease in which the body's immune system becomes overactive and attacks healthy cells, tissues, or organs. Roughly 1.3 million adult Americans suffer from RA, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes painful joint inflammation. Medical evidence reports that both RA and SLE are more common in women, and onset often occurs during reproductive years which can lead to challenges in family-building.

To further understand the role of infertility, pregnancy loss and family size choice in women with RA and SLE, Megan Clowse, M.D., Kaleb Michaud, Ph.D. and colleagues from institutes across the U.S. surveyed 1,017 female participants in the National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases. Respondents to the reproductive-health questionnaire included 578 women with RA and 114 with SLE, who based upon their responses, were then categorized as: those interested in having children at symptom onset who had either fewer children than planned (group A) or the same number as planned (group B), and those no longer interested in having children at diagnosis (group C).

Study findings reveal that over 60% of respondents were in group C. Researchers found that 55% of women with RA and 64% with SLE had fewer children than originally planned. Women with RA who were in group A had an infertility rate 1.5 times higher than those in group B, but both groups had similar rates of miscarriage. Women with SLE in group A had a sim
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Contact: Dawn Peters
healthnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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