How Ankylosing Spondylitis Is Different for African Americans
HealthCentral.com reports on how African Americans are with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) are being diagnosed at lower rates, and typically fare far worse according to experts including HSS rheumatologist Nilasha Ghosh, MD, MS.
Though there’s not much data on how patients with AS are treated in the U.S. healthcare system, considering how biases in healthcare impact Black people with other conditions, there are likely a few factors at play said Dr. Ghosh. Lack of access to specialists and medications for geographic or socioeconomic reasons are large factors. The other is that physicians are often taught that AS is a “disease of white people,” noted Dr. Ghosh. “So, there may be an unconscious bias that this can’t happen in a nonwhite person, leading patients to be dismissed, even when they have classic symptoms.”
Dr. Ghosh added that not enough Black people with AS have been included in research to draw definitive conclusions on genetic risk, and factors like socioeconomic status have not been explored fully. In a letter to the editor responding to that study published in The Journal of Rheumatology, experts point out that findings on racial differences in AS are likely skewed by how the research was done.
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