Purpose of review: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an inflammatory rheumatic disease characterized by autoantibody production and diverse clinical manifestations, disproportionately affects vulnerable groups: women, racial and ethnic minorities, the poor and those lacking medical insurance and education. We summarize the current knowledge of the disparities observed in SLE and highlight recent research that aims to dissect the causes of these disparities and identify the potentially modifiable factors contributing to them.
Recent findings: Several remediable causes, including lack of education, self-efficacy and access to quality, experienced healthcare have been found to contribute to observed disparities in SLE prevalence and outcomes.
Summary: SLE is associated with alarming disparities in incidence, severity and outcomes. The causes of these disparities are under study by several research groups. Identifying potentially correctable contributory factors should allow the development of effective strategies to improve the healthcare delivery and outcomes in all SLE patients.