Fatigue, muscle strength and vitamin D status in women with systemic lupus erythematosus compared with healthy controls
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Recent studies have demonstrated an inverse relationship between vitamin D levels and fatigue in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The aims of this study were to evaluate proximal muscle strength, fatigue and vitamin D levels in women with SLE compared with healthy controls and to investigate relationships between these factors in a cohort of women with SLE. Forty-five women (24 SLE, 21 healthy controls) participated. Primary outcome measures were the fatigue severity scale (FSS), isometric muscle strength of dominant limbs using hand held dynamometry, two functional tests - the 30-second chair stand test and the 1-kg arm lift test, with vitamin D status measured using 25(OH)D. Overall 25(OH)D levels were 68.4 (22.4) nmol/L with no difference between SLE and control groups. There was a statistically and clinically significant difference in fatigue, 1-kg arm lift, 30-second sit to stand, knee extension, hip flexion, hip abduction, shoulder flexion and grip strength in the SLE group compared with the control group (p<0.05). In the SLE group FSS was moderately correlated with both functional measures (1-kg arm lift r젰.42, 30-second chair stand r젰.44, p<0.05). However, no statistically significant correlation between dynamometry measures and fatigue was evident. There was no association between fatigue and 25(OH)D level (r젰.12). In summary, women with SLE were weaker and demonstrated reduced physical function and higher fatigue levels than healthy controls. Fatigue was related to physical function but not vitamin D status or maximal isometric strength in vitamin D replete individuals with SLE.