Updated: March 28, 2021 9:23 AM IS
London [UK]March 28 (ANI): Results from a new study show that people with lupus are more likely to have metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, both of which are linked to heart disease, when they have lower vitamin D levels.
An international research team led by experts from the University of Birmingham and the University of Manchester examined vitamin D levels in 1,163 SLE patients in 33 centers in 11 countries (UK, USA, Canada, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Iceland, Switzerland), Turkey, South Korea and Mexico) and publishes its results in Rheumatology.
The researchers believe that increasing vitamin D levels may improve control of these cardiovascular risk factors and improve long-term outcomes for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Given that photosensitivity is a key characteristic of SLE, scientists say a combination of avoiding the sun, using high factor sunscreens, and living in more northern countries can contribute to lower vitamin D levels in lupus patients. Patients with more severe illnesses also had lower levels of vitamin D.
The co-author of the report, Dr. John A Reynolds, Clinical Lecturer in Rheumatology at the University of Birmingham, commented, “Our results suggest that co-existing physiological abnormalities may contribute early to long-term cardiovascular risk in SLE.
“We found a link between lower vitamin D levels and metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. Further studies could confirm whether restoring vitamin D levels helps lower these cardiovascular risk factors and improve the quality of life for patients with lupus. “
Lupus is a rare incurable immune system disorder that is more common in women, where the immune system is overactive and causes inflammation throughout the body. If left untreated, the disease threatens irreversible damage to important organs such as the kidneys, heart, lungs and brain.
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), abnormal cholesterol levels, and obesity. People with metabolic syndrome are at higher risk of developing coronary artery disease, stroke, and other blood vessel disorders.
The researchers find that patients with SLE have an excessive cardiovascular risk that is up to 50 times higher than people without the condition – this cannot be attributed solely to traditional cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure or smoking.
The mechanisms underlying the link between high blood pressure and low vitamin D in SLE are not clear, but researchers believe it may be related to the effects of vitamin D deficiency on the renin-angiotensin hormonal system, blood pressure, fluid and electrolyte regulates balance and systemic vascular resistance.
“This is the largest study to date to investigate the association between vitamin D levels and metabolic syndrome in SLE. It also has the advantage of being an international cohort of different racial and ethnic backgrounds and producing results that are useful in many situations are applicable, “commented Dr. Reynolds. (ANI)