Minorities More Likely To Have Cases Of Rare Liver Disease

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Rare Liver Disease

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While primary biliary cirrhosis, a rare form of cirrhosis that destroyssmall bile ducts in the liver, usually affects young and middle-agedwhite women, minorities with the disease often have a more severe formthan whites, according to a study published in the September issue of Hepatology, Reuters reports.

For the report, Marion Peters of the University of California-San Franciscoand colleagues analyzed 535 individuals with PBC who were beingscreened for a clinical trial. Participants included 462 whites, 21blacks, 42 Hispanics and 10 other minorities. Researchers found that46.6% of minorities were deemed ineligible for the trial because ofgreater disease severity, compared with 25.1% of whites. Blacks andHispanics also were more likely than whites to have a lower activitylevel; severe or difficult-to-control chronic itching; and a moreadvanced form of the disease.

Peters noted that because thedisease is more common among white women, there are limited data onminorities with the disease. According to the study, "It is not clearwhether these patients had more rapid disease, less access to careearly in their disease or misdiagnoses due to inadequate testing, theabsence of liver biopsies or the presence of (other illnesses) that mayhave led to a delay in treatment" (Reuters, 9/20).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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