Lupus among Asians and Hispanics

Asians and Hispanics of any race are more likely to be affected by lupus, compared with whites.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that triggers inflammation in different tissues of the body. The severity of lupus can range from mild to life threatening. According to recent studies supported by CDC, Asian women and Hispanic women are more likely to be affected by the disease compared with white women.

Signs and Symptom of Lupus

Lupus can affect people of all ages. However, women of childbearing ages—15 to 44 years—are at greatest risk of developing the disease. Men are at lower risk.

People with lupus can have many different symptoms. Some people with the disease may experience fatigue, pain or swelling in joints, skin rashes, and fevers. Additional symptoms can include sun sensitivity, oral ulcers, arthritis, lung problems, heart problems, kidney problems, seizures, psychosis, and blood cell and immunological abnormalities.

People with the disease may have a period of lupus symptoms every so often (called flares), sometimes even years apart, that go away at other times (called remission). They may experience these flares frequently throughout their life.

Lupus symptoms can include fatigue, pain or swelling in joints, skin rashes, and fevers.

Lupus symptoms can include fatigue, pain or swelling in joints, skin rashes, and fevers.

Estimating Who Has Lupus

To find out how common lupus is and how frequently it develops in different racial and ethnic groups, CDC supported five population-based lupus patient registries, which collected information on people who have been diagnosed with the disease. The three sites funded earlier have published results on whites, blacks, and American Indians/Alaska Natives.

Researchers in New York City and San Francisco were funded later to estimate how many Asian and Hispanic women and men have lupus.

These two new studies—published in the September 11 online edition of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology—found that Asian and Hispanic women of any race are more likely to be affected by lupus, compared with non-Hispanic white women.

Data from these registries also confirmed an increase in lupus diagnoses among African American women, as demonstrated through previous lupus studies.

The New York City and San Francisco studies also show that lupus-related kidney disease (lupus nephritis) — a potentially fatal complication — appears to be more common among non-Hispanic Asians and Hispanics (of any race) compared with non-Hispanic whites.

These are the first population-based registries in the United States with a sufficient number of Asians and Hispanics to measure the number of people with diagnosed lupus.

Page last reviewed: September 12, 2017
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