Lupus Survey - What's your blood type? Is there a connection?

Can the answers to two little questions help determine a new contributing factor to developing lupus? Maybe! 

I'm excited to highlight and share a simple, straightforward 2-question lupus survey with you, being conducted by the Scleroderma Education Project (SEP), and led by Edward S Harris, MS, Fellow, Dept. of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Wisconsin.  

They are conducting this survey to understand if blood type could be a contributing factor to developing an autoimmune disease like Lupus.  The survey is anonymous, and literally includes two questions: 

• What is your blood type?
• What is your country of birth?

The origin of the study is that earlier this year, the SEP conducted a large-scale, anonymous, self-report survey of blood types in patients diagnosed with systemic sclerosis (scleroderma). A total of 924 responses were obtained over a six-week period. About 62% were from the US. The survey asked only the two questions listed above. 

While the detailed statistical analysis of these results is still underway, it is very clear that the survey results are significantly different than the weighted population norms of the survey respondents.

So they decided to expand their include four additional autoimmune diseases:
• Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) (That's us!) 
• Rheumatoid Arthritis
• Psoriasis
• Ankylosing Spondylitis

Upon completion of this study, they should have preliminary answers to two important questions:

1) Is the distribution of blood types in each of these five autoimmune diseases the
same as in the general population?

2) Does blood type distribution differ among these different autoimmune diseases?

Sounds promising, right? 

The folks at SEP sent the survey information to me over the summer, but I had a tough time tracking down my blood type. Believe it or not, I didn't know it! I started with hospital paperwork from a stint in the hospital years ago that included a blood transfusion, but no luck. I proceeded to try my records at two different doctors, the hospital records department (which was too cumbersome), and more medical records I had filed away. Still nothing. Now convinced that I actually should know my blood type, I headed to two different drugstores to obtain a blood test kit. No luck there either! Of course, Amazon to the rescue - and for less than $7!

Here's the link to the survey - and let me know if YOU have better luck than I did tracking down your blood type, if you don't already know it. My medical file, like yours, is thick as can be. I can't believe it wasn't in there! 

Note: As long as you have been formally diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), you are eligible to participate in the survey. 


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