Racial Discrimination Linked to CRP Increase in Black Women with Lupus

A new study indicates that Black women with lupus often experience racial discrimination.

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Lupus is a chronic and potentially debilitating autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body. According to the National Institutes of Health, Black women typically experience more rapid progression and worse outcomes compared with other groups. 

But according to a recent study, Black women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), reported experiencing incidents of racism and researchers believe these incidents can have negative consequences. The study states that incidents of racial discrimination can be associated with elevated C-reactive protein (CRP).

The study was conducted by the University of Texas at Austin, it examined experiences of racial discrimination and changes in inflammatory biomarker CRP during a two-year period among Black women with SLE. A total of 380 participants were involved in the study. The experiences of discrimination measure was used to assess incident racial discrimination biannually by self-report. Researchers found that across the two-year study period, incident experiences of racial discrimination were associated with elevated log-transformed CRP.

“The results of this study contribute to a growing body of evidence indicating that racial discrimination is a toxic health threat, and that the embodiment of racial discrimination is one pathway through which racism contributes to inequitable health outcomes for Black Americans,” the authors write.

“Policies and laws aimed at eliminating contemporary and persistent forms of racial discrimination are likely to advance health equity for Black women with SLE, as well as Black Americans more broadly.”

According to NIH, lupus is three times more common in African American women than in Caucasian women. As many as 1 in 250 African American women will develop lupus. There is no cure for lupus, but there are medicines to help a person feel better. Experts say that with good medical care, most people with lupus can lead a full life.

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