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Researchers Point to Lifestyle Changes to Help Prevent Lupus

July 7, 2022 (Vancouver) – Physicians and scientists have long-known that genetics play a role in who develops systemic lupus erythematosus. However, there is increasing evidence to suggest lifestyle factors are also to blame.

Smoking, obesity, infections, sleep deprivation, childhood and adult trauma, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, air pollution, and hormonal exposures all increase a person’s risk of developing this serious, chronic autoimmune disease.

“The good news is that many lifestyle factors can be modified,” said Dr. May Y. Choi, a research scientist at Arthritis Research Canada. “We need to develop an early detection strategy that identifies those at risk for the disease based on family history and environmental exposures so that people can, if possible, make lifestyle changes to prevent developing lupus.”

Lupus is extremely difficult to diagnose. People attend an average of 10 consultations with three different physicians before receiving a diagnosis. This delay is often associated with higher disease activity, organ damage, lower quality of life, and increased healthcare costs.

“Screening for lupus has immense potential to improve health outcomes,” Choi said. “Early detection will allow better decision-making regarding prevention strategies and prescribed medications.”

She added that, without timely and accurate diagnosis and evidence-based therapy, patients with lupus will continue to be at increased risk for complications, disability, and premature death.

It is clear that healthcare providers should encourage as many healthy behaviours as possible. However, it is also necessary to recognize the structural and institutional factors that can limit a person’s ability to achieve a healthy lifestyle. These include poverty, racism, and education. The researchers emphasize the importance of addressing these barriers to improve disease prevention among sociodemographic groups that are medically vulnerable.

To learn more about this research, please click here.

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ABOUT ARTHRITIS RESEARCH CANADA:

Arthritis Research Canada is the largest clinical arthritis research institution in North America. Our mission is to transform the lives of people living with arthritis through research and engagement. Arthritis Research Canada’s scientific director, Dr. Diane Lacaille is leading a team of over 100 researchers, trainees and staff whose world recognized research is creating a future where people living with arthritis are empowered to triumph over pain and disability. Arthritis Research Canada is conducting research across Canada in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec and is affiliated with five major universities: University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, Université Laval, and McGill University. Arthritis Research Canada is leading research aimed at arthritis prevention, early diagnosis, new and better treatment, and improved quality of life.

 

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Meeka Marsolais
Marketing and Communications Officer
604-207-4010 or mmarsolais@arthritisresearch.ca
www.arthritisresearch.ca

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