Can Poverty Make Your Lupus Worse?

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Poverty and race are tied to the health of lupus patients in the United States, according to two new studies.

Via: HealthDay News

One study of 783 patients linked poverty to an increased risk of organ damage from the autoimmune disease. It was published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology.

“Persistent poverty and being poor in an area of concentrated poverty seem to worsen the amount of disease damage over time, while exiting poverty may alleviate it,” study author Edward Yelin said in a journal news release. Yelin is a retired adjunct professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.

“We have also shown that chronic stress associated with poverty may play an important role in why the poor experience more damage. Such stresses may include having to deal with food, housing and medical care insecurity,” he explained.

In lupus, the immune system attacks healthy tissues and organs in the body. This results in damage to the joints, kidneys, skin and heart. Lupus is more common among women and blacks, according to the U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

A second study of 408 women with lupus found adverse pregnancy outcomes were about twice as common among black and Hispanic women than white women.

Among black women, factors such as education and income were strongly tied to outcomes such as fetal death, preterm delivery and fetal growth restriction, in which an unborn baby fails to grow at a normal rate.

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