Background Not much is known about health outcomes among women, in comparison to men, in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Quality of life (QOL) is one of the core health outcome measures in SLE. This study compared health outcomes among SLE patients, stratified by sex, to facilitate better management strategies.
Methods Existent cross-sectional data from SLE patients from a multicenter health outcomes study was utilized. Demographic data, disease activity (SELENA-SLEDAI), damage (SLICC-SDI/ACR), QOL (SF-36, LupusQoL) were compared by sex. Multivariate analysis (adjusted for age, disease activity and damage) were undertaken for QOL, using sex as the independent variable.
Results Of the 325 participants, 33 were men. Mean age was 41.9 ± 13.0 years, and over 53% were Caucasians. Mean SELENA-SLEDAI scores were 4.8± 3.8. There were no age, race or disease activity differences among the two groups. Damage was significantly greater among men than women. On univariate analysis, no differences in SF-36 QOL were observed by sex. However, women fared significantly worse than men in (Physical health, fatigue, Intimate relationship) LupusQoL domains. On multivariate analysis, female sex was an independent predictor of worse functioning on SF-36 (Physical function, vitality) and LupusQoL (Physical Health, Fatigue, Intimate Relationship) (table 1).
Conclusion SLE has differential effects on QOL among men and women. Use of disease specific QOL tool offers more comprehensive and disease pertinent evaluation of SLE impact. Women with SLE report worse impact on physical health, fatigue and intimate relationships. Further studies are required to better understand plausible reasons for these observations.
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