Symptoms in Lupus Are Worsened By Obesity


Patients that have systemic lupus erythematosus – SLE that were also obese had worse symptoms than the ones that had a normal range weight, according to a cross-sectional study.

Obesity is when a person has a fat mass index (FMI) if 13 or more. Patricia Katz, PhD, and colleagues from the University of California (San Francisco) have compared patients that averaged a score of 14.8 with the ones that were not obese (had FMI 11.5).

Looking at the scores from the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, researchers reported in Arthritis Care & Research that the obese patients’ score was 19.8, while the non-obese group had only 13.1.

32% of 142 Women That Had Lupus Were Obese

In their study, Katz and colleagues included 142 women in the Lupus Outcomes Study (at the University of California San Francisco), and 32% of them were obese.

The researchers used a system called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry to correctly asses fat mass. The FMI was calculated by dividing it by the patient’s height.

The average age in the study participants was 48. The number of obese women was more increased in black women, or in women that were less educated, or in women at or below the level of poverty. Most of the obese women had diabetes and a high level of C-reactive protein.

In the Short Form-36 Health Survey, obese patients score worse symptoms of pain (38.7) compared to the non-obese patients (44.2). The same goes in cases of fatigue, with similar results.

What Did the Researchers Recommend?

The researchers said: “We now understand that adipose tissue is an active endocrine tissue that secretes proinflammatory cytokines and adipokines (including leptin, adiponectin, and resistin) into systemic circulation.”

Katz and the team in the research now know that excess adiposity in patients that have lupus can increase the symptoms, as shown in the reports mentioned above:

“This finding has important clinical implications, as the symptoms assessed in our study are known to have profound effects on quality of life and remain an area of unmet need for the majority with the disease.”

There is a way to reduce the risks of conditions that can become fatal. Katz said in a press release, that lupus patients have to change their lifestyle to lower the excess adiposity. This way, they can also reduce symptoms of lupus.


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