Lupus More Deadly for Asian and Hispanic Americans: Study

More Asian and Hispanic people with lupus die prematurely than white patients, a new study reveals.

Death rates in San Francisco were nearly six times higher than expected among Hispanic patients with lupus and four times higher than expected among Asian women with lupus, the researchers found.

The higher death rate among racial and ethnic minority groups might result from more severe cases of the autoimmune disease or less access to care, said researcher Dr. Jinoos Yazdany. She is chief of rheumatology at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

"It is very important that clinicians maintain a high index of suspicion for lupus in these groups in the primary care setting and refer patients to rheumatologists," Yazdany said. "Access to high-quality specialty care is important to improve the outcomes of this disease."

The study looked at more than 800 people with lupus in San Francisco from 2007 to 2009, as well as national death listings through 2017.

Just over 200,000 Americans have systemic lupus erythematosus, and minority women are at the highest risk, the study authors noted.

In lupus, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues,