Vitamin D deficiencies 'can lead to increased heart disease risk in lupus patients'

Published on 06 August 2014
Vitamin D deficiencies 'can lead to increased heart disease risk in lupus patients'Lupus patients with low vitamin D levels could be at an elevated risk of experiencing cardiovascular disease events.

A new US study from Chicago's Northwestern University has shed light on this trend, aiming to demonstrate the associations between cardiovascular risk factors and vitamin D levels, and to determine whether low baseline vitamin D levels predict future cardiovascular events in patients.

The team looked at results of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) tests - one of the most accurate ways of measuring how much vitamin D is in the body - for 890 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), while also taking into account demographic data, disease activity, treatment choices and cardiovascular outcomes.

According to results published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, patients with the highest levels of 25(OH)D were less likely to experience hypertension and hyperlipidaemia, as well as being more likely to have lower SLE disease activity scores and C-reactive protein levels - a key biomarker for inflammation - at baseline.

Although vitamin D levels were not shown to be independently associated with cardiovascular disease event incidence, hazard ratios for cardiovascular disease events tended to decrease with successively higher quantities of the vitamin in the body.

The research concluded: "Lower baseline 25(OH)D levels are associated with higher risk for cardiovascular risk factors and more active SLE at baseline. There may be a trend toward a lower likelihood of cardiovascular disease events in those with higher baseline 25(OH)D levels."

A spokesman for Arthritis Research UK, which is funding a number of studies into the effectiveness of vitamin D in a number of different types of arthritis, said the study sheds an interesting new light on the association between vitamin D and cardiovascular risk factors in lupus.