People with this disease have higher death risk in COVID-19, new study shows

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In a new study, researchers found that people with rare autoimmune rheumatic diseases are at a greater risk of dying at a younger age during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research was conducted by a team from the University of Nottingham and elsewhere.

In the study, experts looked at the electronic health records of 170,000 people in England with rare autoimmune rheumatic diseases.

During March and April 202 (the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic), the team found that 1,815 (1.1%) of people with these diseases died.

The results also showed that the risk of dying during COVID-19 for people with these conditions increased from age 35;

Women with rare autoimmune rheumatic diseases had a similar risk of death to men during COVID-19—whereas usually, their risk of death is lower;

For people of working age with rare autoimmune rheumatic diseases, the risk of dying during COVID-19 was similar to that of someone 20 years older in the general population.

The findings demonstrate that, as a group, people with conditions such as lupus have been disproportionately impacted and therefore the provision of additional support is necessary.

The team says people with rare diseases often have poorer health outcomes generally.

From this study, researchers know that during the early months of the pandemic, people with these diseases were more likely to die than the general population.

The next steps are to look at death certificate data and find out why people have died. The team will be examining whether it’s due to COVID-19 infection or how much is due to the disruption to healthcare services.

One author of the study is Dr. Fiona Pearce from the School of Medicine.

The study is published in Rheumatology.

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