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Young, black women at highest risk for lupus, suffer more life-threatening complications
Date:10/24/2013

ANN ARBOR, Mich. Young, black women have the highest rate of developing lupus and are most likely to be diagnosed at a younger age than whites and during childbearing years, according to a new University of Michigan study of lupus in Southeastern Michigan.

In Michigan, lupus prevalence was three times higher than previous estimates, reaching one in 537 black female Michiganders in the region, compared to one in 1,153 white women, according to the findings that appear in Arthritis and Rheumatism.

In addition to experiencing the disease earlier in life which can mean living with the condition over more years black females with lupus also faced a higher degree of serious health complications, such as kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant.

The U-M research, which covered roughly a quarter of the state's population, is part of a landmark epidemiology study (which examines disease patterns and associated risk factors) and the largest of its kind ever performed in the U.S. focusing on lupus. Lupus (technically known as systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE) is a chronic, autoimmune disease that may cause such symptoms as extreme fatigue, headaches, painful or swollen joints, hair loss, anemia, rashes and abnormal blood clotting. Serious organ damage can also occur, including kidney, neurologic, and cardiovascular complications. Like most autoimmune diseases, risk of lupus is significantly higher for females than males.

The findings, which are based on data collected as part of a public health initiative in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Community Health, dovetail with a sister project from Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. that found that the incidence rate for lupus was three times higher for black women than for white women in Georgia. Both studies appear in Arthritis and Rheumatism, along with an accompanying editorial on the research's implications. (Read more on all of the findings here)
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Contact: Beata Mostafavi
bmostafa@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert  

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Young, black women at highest risk for lupus, suffer more life-threatening complications
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