Background Nutritional status and intake of selected food may influence systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) course and activity. SLE patients may have nutritional changes triggered by disease or treatment and this may influence the course of the disease.
Objectives To assess the nutritional status and diet of SLE patients and the association with disease activity.
Methods 121 consecutive SLE patients (98 females, 23 males), mean age 42.5 years and mean disease duration 7.5 years diagnosed according to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for SLE were assessed. Nutritional status was determined by body mass index (BMI) and subjective global assessment. Dietary intake at baseline was assessed by a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). All patients were interrogated about medication usage and sociodemographic factors. Disease activity was assessed using the SLE disease activity index (SLE-DAI).
Results BMI assessment revealed that 43% of SLE patients were overweight, 28.9% were obese, 10% were malnourished and 18.1% were of normal weight. The FFQ revealed a decreased consumption of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk and other dairy products and an increased intake of fats and oils. Low intake of iron, calcium and zinc was found in 30%, 57% and 87% respectively. Increased BMI correlated with lower socioeconomic status, lower level of education, increased disease activity (SLE-DAI), higher dosages of corticosteroid intake and decreased physical activity.
Conclusions Abnormalities in nutritional status is common among SLE patients with excessive intake of lipids and low intake of vitamins and trace elements. As nutritional status may influence disease activity in SLE patients, proper attention should be paid to the diet and nutritional assessment should be included in the comprehensive management of these patients.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared