June 15, 2009

Anxiety and depression common with lupus

Some 93 percent of patients with lupus erythematosus suffer anxiety and depression affecting physical and emotional quality of life, Italian researchers say.

In the study, 92.8 percent of 56 patients who were diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus had an element of confirmed neuropsychiatric involvement -- including anxiety, depression, mild cognitive deficits and major neuropsychiatric involvement.

Several other conditions that may occur alongside systemic lupus erythematosus were also shown to influence aspects of quality of life including:

-- Cutaneous, or skin, conditions such as Raynaud's phenomenon, reported by 37.5 percent of the patients.

-- Serositis reported by 8.9 percent of the patients.

-- Hyperhomocysteinemia, a blood disorder that is a risk factor for coronary artery disease, was reported by 39.3 percent of patients.

-- Anti-phospholipid antibodies, a disorder of coagulation, was reported by 66.1 percent.

People with systemic lupus erythematosus experience a range of both psychological and physical symptoms which can negatively impact their quality of life, study leader Dr. Paola Tomietto of the University of Trieste, Italy, said in a statement. Clinicians should try to identify and address the presence of mood disorders in their systemic lupus erythematosus patients in order to improve both their emotional quality of life but and, ultimately, their physical functioning.

The study was presented at European League Against Rheumatism at the annual congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Copenhagen, Denmark.