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The impact of obesity on SLE disease activity: findings from the Southern California LupusRegistry (SCOLR)

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Teh P1, Zakhary B2, Sandhu VK3. Clin Rheumatol. 2018 Oct 24. doi: 10.1007/s10067-018-4336-3. [Epub ahead of print]


Author information 1 Department of Internal Medicine, University of California Riverside, 900 University Ave, Riverside, CA, 92521, USA. 2 Office of Research, Riverside University Health System, 26520 Cactus Avenue - Education Building, Moreno Valley, CA, 92555, USA. 3 Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Loma Linda University, 11234 Anderson Street, Suite 1521, Loma Linda, CA, 92354, USA. vksandhu@llu.edu.

Abstract The role of obesity in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) remains controversial. Studies have linked adiposity with a heightened risk of clinical complications including neurocognitive decline, renal impairment, dampened physical activity, and depressed quality of life-but not disease activity. We aimed to reexamine whether obesity in SLE patients independently associates with higher disease activity. Adult patients with SLE were recruited from the longitudinal, multi-ethnic Southern California Lupus Registry (SCOLR). Disease status was ascertained by calculating SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI), which was then statistically analyzed for association with increased body mass index (BMI) by univariable and multivariable regression analyses. One hundred and thirty-seven patients were included in the study; 37% were obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2). Obesity was significantly associated with SLEDAI (P = 0.026) and current steroid use (P = 0.029). Multivariable regression analysis demonstrated that obesity remained independently associated with lupus activity (OR 2.335, P = 0.026). In a representative sample of patients with SLE, obesity independently associated with worse SLE disease activity. Obesity may therefore be an important target for improving SLE outcomes.