The impact of obesity in systemic lupus erythematosus on disease parameters, quality of life, functional capacity and the risk of atherosclerosis

Int J Rheum Dis. 2012 Jun;15(3):261-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1756-185X.2011.01698.x.


Objective: To study the effect of obesity on the quality of life (QoL), functional capacity and the risk of carotid atherosclerotic plaque formation in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients and to correlate the findings with disease parameters, activity and damage.

Patients and methods: Sixty SLE patients were clinically examined, investigated and their carotid intima media thickness (IMT) measured by ultrasonography. Assessment of the QoL, Health Assessment Questionnaire(HAQ-II), fatigue severity scale (FSS), the disease activity using Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) and the damage by Systemic Lupus International Collaboration Clinics (SLICC)/American College of Rheumatology (ACR) damage index were performed on all patients. Patients were grouped according to their body mass index (BMI).

Results: The mean age of the patients was 28.55 8.08 years, disease duration 6.49 5.18 years with a female : male ratio of 5.67 : 1. There was a significant association of increased BMI with lupus nephritis and hypertension. In obese SLE patients, there was a significant decrease in QoL and functional capacity and obvious dyslipidemia. The IMT was increased and significantly correlated with waist circumference.

Conclusion: In SLE patients, there is an association of BMI with dyslipidemia and decreased QoL. Its role in disease activity is not clear and obesity was associated with SLE damage accrual, especially lupus nephritis among other risk factors, including age, disease duration and increased steroid use. Increased waist circumference increases the risk of atherosclerosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Mass Index
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / etiology*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / pathology
  • Carotid Artery, Common / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery, Common / pathology*
  • Carotid Intima-Media Thickness
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disease Progression
  • Dyslipidemias / etiology
  • Egypt
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Linear Models
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / diagnosis
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / physiopathology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / psychology
  • Lupus Nephritis / etiology
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Steroids / therapeutic use
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Waist Circumference
  • Young Adult


  • Steroids