-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Headaches are common in
people with lupus, but are not linked to disease activity,
according to a new study.
Researchers reviewed records for more than 1,700 people with
lupus, an autoimmune disease that can damage skin, joints and
organs, and looked at the headaches they experienced over a number
of years. The investigators found that 18 percent of the patients
had headaches at the time of diagnosis, but that proportion
increased to 58 percent after 10 years.
Headaches were linked to a lower health-related quality of life,
but were independent of treatment specific to lupus and were not
associated with disease activity or lupus medications such as
steroids, antimalaria drugs, and immune system-suppressing drugs,
according to the study published Oct. 28 in the journal
Arthritis & Rheumatism.
"While lupus patients with headaches reported lower quality of life, the majority of cases resolved on their own without lupus-specific therapies," wrote lead author Dr. John Hanly, of Dalhousie University and the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Center in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and colleagues.
Prior studies have reported that between 24 percent and 72
percent of lupus patients suffered headaches. This large range may
be due to the lack of a uniform definition of headache, Hanly
Dr. Michael Lockshin, of Weill Cornell Medical College and
Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, said the findings
"strongly suggest that lupus headache is not a sign of disease
activity, but may be linked to other neurological manifestations."
As a result, the current headache criterion in guidelines used to
evaluate lupus flares is no longer useful and should be discarded,
he writes in an accompanying journal editorial.
The Lupus Foundation of America has more about
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