Metabolic Syndrome Frequency Assessed in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

overweight man being measured
overweight man being measured
The frequency of metabolic syndrome among patients with SLE was approximately 45%.

A new study published in International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases found that the frequency of metabolic syndrome (MetS) among patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) was common, but was not significantly different from that of age- and sex-matched controls. Study data indicated that in patients with major organ involvement, age and disease duration were higher among patients with MetS. 

Researchers collected demographic, clinical, and laboratory data from 73 patients with SLE and 73 age- and sex-matched controls. The frequency of MetS was 45.2% in the SLE group compared with 37% in the control group (P =.313). Although the between-group difference in MetS frequency was not statistically significant, patients with SLE more often had certain MetS risk factors, including hypertension (P =.038), and had higher cholesterol levels (P =.001).

Investigators also examined within-group comparisons. Individuals with SLE and MetS were more likely to have diabetes (P =.001), had higher Health Assessment Questionnaire scores (P =.029), were taking a lower mean dose of hydroxychloroquine (P =.068), and had more major organ involvement (P =.059) compared with those with SLE without MetS.

Patients with SLE and major organ involvement had a higher frequency of MetS (66.6%) compared with those with SLE without major organ involvement (38.4%), according to the National Cholesterol Education Program criteria (P =.068). Additionally, patients with SLE with major organ involvement had higher mean fasting blood sugar values (P =.049) and mean high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol values (P =.001) compared with patients with SLE without major organ involvement. Investigators also found that people with SLE with major organ involvement and MetS were older (P =.023) and had longer disease duration (P =.013) compared with those without MetS.

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Although study data did not indicate a significantly higher rate of MetS in the SLE cohort compared with controls, MetS is a well-recognized comorbidity of SLE and was found in nearly half of the SLE cohort. Researchers emphasized the importance of consistent MetS screening, particularly in older patients and those with longer disease duration.


Mobini M, Niksolat F, Mohammadpour RA, Dashti Dargahloo S, Marzban D. Metabolic syndrome in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: association with disease activity, disease damage and age [published online April 3, 2018]. Int J Rheum Dis. doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.13276

This article originally appeared on Rheumatology Advisor