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Individuals living with lupus: findings from the LUPUS UK Members Survey 2014

Morgan, C and Bland, AR and Maker, C and Dunnage, J and Bruce, IN (2018) Individuals living with lupus: findings from the LUPUS UK Members Survey 2014. Lupus, 27 (4). pp. 681-687. ISSN 0961-2033

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Abstract

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex and unpredictable disease which varies greatly among patients and has a significant impact on an individual’s daily living and quality of life. A better understanding of the patients’ experiences with the disease is vital to the effective management of the disease. LUPUS UK, a national UK-registered charity supporting people with systemic and discoid lupus, conducted a UK-wide survey of individuals living with lupus in order to provide foundation information to support and identify gaps needing further research. An anonymous survey was sent to 5660 LUPUS UK members in order to obtain demographic, diagnosis, symptom and treatment information. A total of 2527 surveys were returned by 2371 females (mean age 56.9 years, SD 13.6) and 156 males, (mean age 60.9 years, SD 15.7). Individuals reported a mean (SD) time to diagnosis from the first symptom of 6.4 (9.5) years, with 47% (n ¼ 1186) initially being given a different diagnosis prior to lupus. Fatigue/weakness (91%, n ¼ 2299) and joint pain/swelling (77.4%, n ¼ 1957) were the most common symptoms that interfere with daily activities, while 73% (n ¼ 1836) noted having some problems that make them unable to carry out their usual daily activities. Thirty-two per cent (n ¼ 806) were also seeking support beyond traditional pharmacological treatments, such as acupuncture and massage. This study highlights the range and frequency of symptoms difficult to live with on a daily basis and support areas needing further research to improve patients’ well-being.

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