What Ethnicity Reveals About Kids' Lupus

Lupus nephritis risk lower among youth with European ancestry

(RxWiki News) It is not always clear why people of a certain ethnicity are more at risk of disease than others. Regardless, knowing who is at risk of lupus, for example, can help doctors make treatment decisions.

Young lupus patients with European ancestry may have a lower risk of kidney complications, compared to those without European ancestry.

"Ask your doctor about your risk of lupus."

For their recent study, Jennifer Frankovich, of Stanford University Medical Center, and colleagues wanted to see if young lupus patients without European ancestry had an increased risk of lupus nephritis - a kidney disorder associated with lupus.

Their findings show that lupus affected patients with or without European ancestry in similar ways. There was not a large difference between the two groups with regards to the time span of lupus, age of onset, and lag time between symptoms and diagnosis.

The two groups had different risks of lupus nephritis, however.

Patients who had at least one grandparent of European ancestry had a lower risk of developing severe kidney complications, compared to those without European ancestry.

The authors note that patients without European ancestry came from poorer backgrounds and were less likely to speak English - two factors that can make it harder to access quality health care.

Yet, even after taking these factors into account, young lupus patients with European ancestry had a lower chance of developing lupus nephritis.

"This study demonstrates that presence of at least one grandparent of European ancestry decreases the risk of severe lupus nephritis, a finding that is not explained by measurable socioeconomic differences and language barriers," the authors conclude.

The study - which involved 98 lupus patients under the age of 18 - is published in the journal Lupus

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Review Date: 
March 22, 2012