Prevalence of and risk factors for the metabolic syndrome in women with systemic lupus erythematosus

Clin Exp Rheumatol. Jan-Feb 2008;26(1):32-8.


Objective: To examine the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome and the relationship between metabolic syndrome score (MetS score) and disease characteristics and cardiovascular events (CVEs) in women with SLE.

Methods: Demographic and clinical data were collected in 141 female SLE patients. The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was defined by a modified National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP/ATP III) definition. Metabolic syndrome was defined as MetS score >or= 3.

Results: Twenty-three (16%) of the 141 SLE patients (mean age 39+/-12 years, mean disease duration 6.2+/-6.6 years) fulfilled the criteria of the metabolic syndrome. The mean MetS score was significantly higher in patients with SLE and a history of cardiovascular events (CVEs) than in those without a previous CVE. In linear multiple regression analysis, a high MetS score was significantly associated with previous intravenous methylprednisolone use, older age, higher ESR, higher C3 levels and higher serum creatinine levels.

Conclusions: In our female SLE patients, a high prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was found as compared to healthy women in the Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study. Independent risk factors for high MetS score in patients with SLE are previous treatment with intravenous methylprednisolone, renal insufficiency, older age, higher ESR and higher C3 levels. These results suggest that assessment of the metabolic syndrome in patients with SLE might be important to identify subgroups of patients that are at disproportional high risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Blood Sedimentation
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Complement C3 / analysis
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology
  • Methylprednisolone / adverse effects
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors


  • Complement C3
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Creatinine
  • Methylprednisolone