Quality of Life in Patients With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (sle) Compared to Related Controls Within a Unique African American Population

The patient’s perspective of how their health affects their function is health-related quality of life (HRQOL). HRQOL is poorer in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Few HRQOL studies in SLE patients have focused on African Americans despite an increased disease burden compared with Caucasians. The African American Gullah population of South Carolina has a homogeneous genetic and environmental background and a high prevalence of multi-patient families with SLE. Demographics, medical history, and Short-Form 36 (SF-36) were measured within a cohort of Gullah SLE cases and related controls. Compared with related controls (n = 37), cases (n = 89) had a lower Physical Component Summary (PCS, 41.8 vs. 52.3, p < 0.01), but not Mental Component Summary (MCS, 55.0 vs. 56.0, p = 0.70). The difference in PCS was no longer significant upon adjustment for working status, disability, and medical conditions. None of the 11 SLE American College of Rheumatology criteria, disease duration, or Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics Damage Index were associated with either PCS or MCS. Cases and controls had similar MCS scores. We hypothesize that this lack of effect of SLE on MCS may be due to disease-coping mechanisms interplaying with cultural factors unique to the Gullah.

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