Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a leading cause of death among young women, according to an August 2018 study in Arthritis & Rheumatology.1 To help determine where SLE ranks among causes of death, Eric Y. Yen, MD, and Ram Raj Singh, MD, conducted a population-based study using nationwide mortality counts for all female residents of the U.S. from 2000 to 2015. They concluded that SLE is an important public health issue among young women and that ongoing research and education are needed to address it.
Explore this issueOctober 2018
“During my medical training in pediatrics, I noticed that lupus is a common disease that I see on the wards,” says Dr. Yen, assistant professor, Department of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). “So when I joined the pediatric rheumatology fellowship at UCLA, I set out to determine SLE death rates.”
“To our dismay, we found the death rates for SLE were disproportionately high relative to death rates in the general population. … This finding led us to posit that SLE might be among the leading causes of death,” explains Dr. Singh, professor of medicine and pathology, and director of the Autoimmunity and Tolerance Laboratory, UCLA.