London, March 28 (IANS): Patients with lupus are more likely to have metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance – two factors linked to heart disease – if they have lower vitamin D levels, a new study finds.
Lupus is a rare, incurable immune system disease more common in women where the immune system is overactive, causing inflammation throughout the body.
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).
“Our results suggest that coexisting physiological abnormalities may contribute to long-term cardiovascular risk at the onset of SLE,” said researcher John A Reynolds, clinical lecturer in rheumatology at the University of Birmingham.
“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 patients with lupus, ”added Reynolds.
Since photosensitivity is a key feature of LEDs, researchers 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.
For the study, published in the journal Rheumatology, the team studied vitamin D levels in 1,163 SLE patients at 33 centers in 11 countries.
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.