New Study Showcases Key Differences Between Males and Females with Lupus

New Study Showcases Key Differences Between Males and Females with Lupus

While socioeconomic factors continue to exist as a barrier, a new study has found major clinical and health literacy differences between males and females living with lupus.

Researchers studied 1,462 people (126 males and 1,336 females) with lupus in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) All of Us Research Program. The study described and compared characteristics of males and females with lupus by analyzing electronic health record and survey data. Researchers examined disease manifestations, prescribed medications and socioeconomic factors, including health literacy and healthcare access.

The study revealed several differences in disease signs and symptoms, healthcare experiences, and health outcomes between males and females. Notably, males reported lower educational attainment and had significantly less confidence in completing medical forms than females. The findings suggest disproportionately poorer health literacy in males with lupus, which may lead to worse health outcomes. Additionally, myocardial infarction, or heart attacks, were significantly more common in males, while reported levels of fatigue among males were lower.

The study also uncovered commonalities among males and females with lupus. Namely, barriers to healthcare access and utilization were common in both males (40%) and females (47%). Additionally, delays in seeking care were also common across races. However, only females of races other than Black/African American and White specifically reported delayed care due to cultural differences with more frequency.

There are approximately 1.5 million people in the United States with lupus, but only about 10% of them are men. Men with lupus are an understudied demographic, and the findings from this study contribute to the small, but growing, amount of research exploring differences between males and females living with the disease. Future studies will need to include more men to better understand the variety of issues that influence lupus and how it affects their healthcare. Learn more about men’s health and special considerations with lupus.