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

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"There is a very poor understanding of what causes lupus. Identifying the population and dynamics involved helps us target our resources more effectively and better recognize risk factors for the development and progression of the disease," says lead author Emily Somers, Ph.D., Sc.M, an assistant professor in the departments of Internal Medicine in the division of Rheumatology, Environmental Health Sciences, and Obstetrics & Gynecology at the U-M Medical and Public Health Schools.

"We found a striking health disparity between black and white women. The disproportionate burden of disease was compounded by the fact that for black females, peak risk of developing lupus occurred in young adulthood while the risk of disease among white women was spread out more evenly through mid-adulthood and tended to be less severe.

"Lupus onset occurring before or during reproductive years can have significant implications for childbearing and risks in pregnancy, and of course may lead to a higher burden of health issues over the lifespan."

The study was based on a diverse population of roughly 2.4 million residents in Wayne and Washtenaw counties between 2002 and 2004.

A $3 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will allow Somers and her colleagues to continue researching risk factors for lupus, including gene-environment interactions, which may pave the way for prevention strategies.

"Our findings compel us to develop practices to improve screening for kidney disease among high-risk populations in order to better treat the condition and improve health outcomes for people with this chronic disease," Somers says.


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Contact: Beata Mostafavi
bmostafa@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert  

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