Saturday, September 12, 2009
Blacks and Hispanics appear more likely than whites to develop the most common form of the autoimmune disease lupus
Lupus, also known as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a chronic inflammatory disease that often affects the joints, kidneys, blood and nervous system, is generally known to strike women more often than men and some ethnic groups more than others. Its severity can range from mild to fatal. The study was based on six years of data from lupus patients in Dallas-Fort Worth-area hospitals. The researchers found that white patients were half as likely as other ethnic groups to have the disease. Hispanic women tended to have the most severe lupus cases, which often were complicated by the presence of other diseases. These women, for example, had a 61% greater chance of having kidney inflammation - or nephritis - in addition to lupus, and a 55% greater likelihood of also having diabetes. In all, Hispanic and black patients with SLE were twice as likely as whites to also have nephritis, kidney failure and inflammation of the heart lining, all of which complicate the treatment and severity of the disease.