The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) says Black Americans are at higher risk than European Americans for autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (Lupus) and scleroderma (systemic sclerosis), which they tend to develop earlier in life and experience more severely.
The immune system plays the vital role in protecting our bodies from germs and other cell changes that could make us ill (NCBI). An autoimmune disorder is a condition affecting the immune system causing abnormally low, or abnormally high immune system activity (WebMD). There are over 80 different autoimmune diseases including diabetes and systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus) (Healthline).
Lupus is one autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the patient’s tissues and organs leading to inflammation in the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs (Mayo Clinic). The difficulties around lupus are diagnosis, lacking one single test that can diagnose the disease, and symptoms that closely mimic other health issues (Mayo Clinic). A leading risk factor for lupus is race, with the disease more common in African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans (Mayo Clinic).