Health> Vol.6 No.1, January 2014

Stress intervention and disease in African American lupus patients: The balancing lupus experiences with stress strategies (BLESS) study

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ABSTRACT

Very little is known about the impact of psychosocial stress on underlying biological mechanisms in African American lupus patients, although African American women display the highest rates of lupus. Due to the exposure of African Americans to a unique trajectory of stressors throughout the life course, it may be critical to understand the relationship between psychosocial stress and underlying biological mechanisms that influence disease activity and pathology in this high risk group. To begin to fill this research void, an evidence-based self-management program was piloted among a cohort of African American lupus patients participating in a SLE database project at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). To assess disease activity, during each clinic visit, a history is obtained, and physical examination, phlebotomy, and urine collection are performed. SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) and Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology (SLICC/ACR) Damage Index (SDI) scores are assessed at each visit. Disease data corresponding with data collection timeframes for each participant were extracted from the MUSC SLE Database to assess the effectiveness of the program. Several differences were observed between the intervention and control groups on symptoms pertaining to lupus activity, and many of these differences had large effect sizes. Our findings can be rapidly translated into improved delivery of health care and targeted trials/interventions with relevance to health disparities, and if widely implemented, morbidities and mortality related to lupus could be drastically reduced in African-Americans.

Cite this paper

Williams, E. , Kamen, D. , Penfield, M. and Oates, J. (2014) Stress intervention and disease in African American lupus patients: The balancing lupus experiences with stress strategies (BLESS) study. Health, 6, 71-79. doi: 10.4236/health.2014.61011.

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