09:53 AM

6 Questions About the Medical and Support Needs of Men With SLE

Rheumatology Consultant interviews HSS social workers Jillian Rose, PhD, MPH, LCSW and Priscilla Toral, LCSW, who discussed their research findings presented at the 2019 American College of Rheumatology annual meeting, revealing medical, psychosocial, and support needs for men with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are limited, and men with SLE also seek medical attention and supportive care less than women.

Rose cited, “Lupus is traditionally known as a woman’s disease, because it affects women 9 times more than it affects men. Therefore, men do not see themselves as people who develop this disease. The level of denial for having a chronic illness and accepting it is also increased among the male population. Whether it is about their masculine identity or their ability to relate to people who have this illness, men are often in denial about having this illness.” Rose added, “We conducted the study because we wanted to better understand the barriers to their engagement in care and support and education groups, since the problem appeared to be unfolding right in front of us. While we have the resources available, we are missing the mark somewhere for this patient population.”

Toral noted, “It is important to enhance patient‑doctor communication. Men are not necessarily going to volunteer specific information about their condition and how it impacts their daily life, especially as it relates to their sexual health. Findings further highlighted opportunities for physicians to be aware of important areas to assess in the medical visit as it relates to males living with lupus.”

Rose and Toral further explained how rheumatologists can help male patients feel more comfortable to talk about their condition, by normalizing the condition and educating patients on the different national support and education services, which are often misrepresented to being solely for women, when they are open to men as well.

Read the article at Consultant360.com.