Wisconsin health officials share strides made in treating Lupus during Lupus Awareness Month – WKOW

MADISON (WKOW) — May is Lupus Awareness Month and right now, Wisconsin health officials are raising awareness about the condition, as well as, strides they are making in treating it.
UW Health is home to Wisconsin’s first multidisciplinary Lupus clinic. A new study shows the clinic cut the time to diagnosis for Lupus patients with suspected kidney disease by 40%.
Lupus can impact anyone, but the primary demographic is women ages 15 to 44. Women of color are more likely to be affected.
Because of this, Dr. Shivani Garg, assistant professor of medicine at UW School of Medicine and Public Health and a rheumatologist at UW Health, looked into whether having a diverse team of physicians, pharmacists and social workers available to a patient made a difference in the time it took to diagnose the disease and whether the approach improved care.
The study looked at outcomes for patients with lupus nephritis, a complication of lupus where the body’s immune system attacks the kidneys.
The study compared results of patients seen before the clinic was launched in 2018 and patients seen after its launch.
It found that after the clinic was launched, the time for completion of a kidney biopsy dropped from an average of 26 days to 16 days. Garg said this is crucial because early detection is key.
“These results are important because lupus and lupus nephritis are the leading causes of mortality in young, diverse women and so it becomes very important to address and target some of these bad barriers and improve care to improve the outcomes and survival in these patients,” Garg said.
In the future, Garg hopes to continue addressing social barriers to identify how to reduce the risk of kidney failure, cardiovascular disease, and early deaths in people with lupus and lupus nephritis.

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