Researchers believe that increasing vitamin D levels may improve control of these cardiovascular risk factors, as well as long-term outcomes for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the University of Birmingham said in a Saturday press release.
Since photosensitivity is a key feature of LEDs, scientists say a combination of avoiding the sun, using high-factor sunscreen, and living in countries further north can help reduce levels of vitamin D in patients with lupus. Patients with more severe disease also had vitamin D levels.
An international research team, led by experts from the University of Birmingham and the University of Manchester, studied vitamin D levels in 1,163 SLE patients in 33 centers in 11 countries, publishing their rheumatology findings.
Report co-author Dr John A Reynolds, Clinical Lecturer in Rheumatology at the University of Birmingham, commented: “Our results suggest that coexisting physiological abnormalities may contribute to long-term cardiovascular risk in the onset of SLE. “.
“We have found a link between lower vitamin D levels and metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. Further studies could confirm whether restoring vitamin D levels helps reduce these cardiovascular risk factors and improve the quality of life of lupus patients, ”he said.
Lupus is a rare, incurable immune system disease more common in women, where the immune system is overactive, causing inflammation anywhere in the body. Left untreated, the disease threatens irreversible damage to major organs, including 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 greater risk of getting coronary heart disease, stroke, and other conditions that affect the blood vessels.
The researchers note that patients with SLE have an excessive cardiovascular risk, up to 50 times that seen in people without the disease – this cannot be attributed solely to traditional cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure or smoking.
The mechanisms underlying the association between hypertension and low vitamin D in SLE are unclear, but researchers believe they may be related to the impact of vitamin D deficiency on the patient’s body. renin-angiotensin hormonal system, which regulates blood pressure, fluid and electrolyte balance, as well as systemic vascular resistance.
“This is the largest study ever to examine associations between vitamin D levels and metabolic syndrome in SLE; it also has the advantage of being an international cohort with diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds – generating results that will be applicable in many contexts, ”commented Dr. Reynolds.