Dr. S. Sam Lim of Emory University in Atlanta and Emily C. Somers of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, conducted studies in their respective states, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Georgia and Michigan state health departments.
An extensive review of records from hospitals, specialists' offices and clinical laboratories within Georgia and Michigan showed blacks had an increased proportion of lupus-related kidney disease and progression to end-stage kidney disease than whites, and that black females developed lupus at a younger age than white females.
"Black women had very high rates of lupus, with an incidence rate in Georgia nearly three times higher than that for white women, with significantly high rates in the 30-39 age group," Lim said in a statement. "These are young women in the prime of their careers, family and fertility. This means a severely compromised future, with a disease that waxes and wanes, affecting every aspect of daily living for the rest of their lives."
There was a striking difference in patterns of lupus between the black and white populations, which may help in assessing risk for developing this disease, Somers said.
"Not only was the peak risk of lupus earlier among black females, but a higher proportion also developed severe or life-threatening complications of lupus, such as neurologic or kidney disease, including end-stage renal disease," Somers said. "Healthcare providers caring for this population should be aware of the importance of screening for early signs of lupus, in particular kidney disease."
The two studies were published in the online edition of the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.