Despite improvements, death rates from lupus remain disproportionately high

October 30, 2017, American College of Physicians

Despite improving trends in mortality, death rates from systematic lupus erythematosus (lupus) remain high compared to those in the general population, and disparities persist between subpopulations and geographic regions. Underreporting of lupus on death certificates may have resulted in underestimates of mortality rates. Findings from a nationwide population-based study are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Lupus is a with limited treatment options. In the 1950s, 5- and 10-year survival rates were less than 50 percent, but those rates jumped to more than 90 percent in the 1980s. The influence of more recent diagnostic and therapeutic developments on lupus in the general population of the United States is unknown. Previous studies of lupus mortality were based primarily on deaths in patient cohorts, which do not capture changes in lupus incidence over time and do not reflect the true burden and trends of lupus mortality in the .

Researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA used a national mortality database and census data to identify temporal trends and demographic and regional differences in lupus mortality in the United States over a 46-year period from 1968 through 2013. They found that the reduction in mortality attributed to lupus was less than the reduction in non-lupus mortality, and the ratio of lupus to non-lupus mortality was about 35 percent higher in 2013 than in 1968. After an initial decrease between 1968 and 1975, lupus mortality increased annually for 24 years, followed by a sustained decrease for 14 years starting in 1999. Changes in lupus incidence over time could partially explain the changing trends; however, significant disparities in lupus mortality among subpopulations were observed. Mortality rates remained higher among older persons, females, blacks, and Hispanics, as well as in patients who resided in in the West and the South. Most interestingly, according to the authors, persons of the same race/ethnicity had differences in lupus mortality, depending on where they lived. White persons living in the South had the highest lupus mortality, whereas non-Whites had the highest lupus mortality in the West.

The study authors stress that it is encouraging that lupus mortality began to decrease in 1999 and that the decrease has been sustained for 14 years, until the end of the study period. They suggest that additional research could help to identify any potentially modifiable risk factors that might inform targeted research and public health programs to address the disparities in lupus mortality rates.

Explore further: Reports reveal racial and ethnic disparities in lupus rates

More information: Annals of Internal Medicine (2017). http://annals.org/aim/article/doi/10.7326/M17-0102

Related Stories

Reports reveal racial and ethnic disparities in lupus rates

September 11, 2017
Two new papers reveal striking racial and ethnic disparities in the incidence and prevalence of lupus, a systemic autoimmune disease that can affect virtually any organ system. The reports, which are published in Arthritis ...

Lower mortality rates among Asian and Hispanic lupus patients

January 15, 2015
A new study by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts reveals that Asian and Hispanic patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have lower mortality rates compared to Black, White, or ...

PTSD linked with increased lupus risk

September 20, 2017
In a study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, trauma exposure and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in civilian women were strongly associated with increased risk of developing lupus, an autoimmune disease.

Lupus may contribute to pregnancy-related complications

February 1, 2016
A new study found that lupus during pregnancy may have negative health impacts for women and their babies. The study included 13,598 Swedish women in their first pregnancy, and all were singleton pregnancies. Preeclampsia, ...

New study reveals hidden burden of Lupus among Hispanic and Asian women in Manhattan

September 11, 2017
Within Manhattan's diverse population, the chronic and often debilitating autoimmune disease lupus affects Hispanic and Asian women more frequently than white women, according to a new study led by investigators at NYU School ...

New guidelines published to improve diagnosis and treatment of lupus

October 9, 2017
A University of Birmingham academic has led the authorship of the UK's first guideline on the care of adults with systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus).

Recommended for you

A Trojan Horse delivery for treating a rare, potentially deadly, blood-clotting disorder

September 21, 2018
In proof-of-concept experiments, University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have highlighted a potential therapy for a rare but potentially deadly blood-clotting disorder, TTP. The researchers deliver this therapeutic ...

Study shows surprise low-level ozone impact on asthma patients

September 21, 2018
A new study led by UNC School of Medicine researchers indicates that ozone has a greater impact on asthma patients than previously thought. The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, recruited ...

Cancer immunotherapy might benefit from previously overlooked immune players

September 20, 2018
Cancer immunotherapy—efforts to boost a patient's own immune system, allowing it to better fight cancer cells on its own—has shown great promise for some previously intractable cancers. Yet immunotherapy doesn't work ...

Gut fungus exacerbates asthma in antibiotic-treated mice

September 20, 2018
A non-pathogenic fungus can expand in the intestines of antibiotic-treated mice and enhance the severity of allergic airways disease, according to a study published September 20 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by ...

Paracetamol use in infancy is linked to increased risk of asthma in some teenagers

September 17, 2018
Children who take paracetamol during their first two years of life may be at a higher risk of developing asthma by the age of 18, especially if they have a particular genetic makeup, according to new research presented at ...

Cord blood clue to respiratory diseases

September 15, 2018
New research has found children born in the last three months of the year in Melbourne may have a greater risk of developing respiratory diseases such as asthma.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.