Smokers with common autoimmune disorder at higher risk for skin damage

Nov 02, 2009

As if there weren't enough reasons to stop smoking, a team of researchers at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) have just found another. A study led by Dr. Christian A Pineau, Co-Director of the Lupus and Vasculitis clinic at the MUHC, has clearly linked skin damage and rashes to smoking in people with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The study was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Rheumatology.

SLE is a long-term autoimmune disorder affecting about one in every 2000 people. About 90 per cent of SLE patients are women, many of them young. Symptoms are caused by an overactive immune system, and the disease can cause inflammation and damage in almost any organ system, including the skin.

"Up to 85 per cent of people with SLE develop skin involvement at some point," explains Dr. Pineau. "Our study shows that the risk of such as permanent hair loss and scarring from skin inflammation is significantly increased in smokers. So is the rate of active lupus rash."

While there is no cure for SLE, symptoms can be treated with drugs. "However, smoking may interfere with the effectiveness of some medications used to control in SLE," says Dr. Sasha Bernatsky, study co-author and physician in the MUHC's Rheumatology Division. "This may be part of the reason why smoking heightens skin damage in SLE.

"Even in healthy people, has both immediate and long-term effects on the skin, its blood vessels and on hair follicles," she adds. "Exposure to tobacco promotes the release of cytokines - substances in the body that increase activity and inflammation. In fact, some researchers believe that cigarette smoking is actually a risk factor for SLE in the first place."

The study underlines how vital it is for patients with SLE to remain smoke-free. "We already knew these people should not smoke, due to increased risk of adverse events like heart disease," Dr. Pineau says. "Now it appears we have another reason to emphasize smoking cessation. If we can convince people with SLE to stop , we may be able to help them achieve better disease control, and better outcomes."

Source: McGill University Health Centre (news : web)

Explore further: Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rituximab reduces kidney inflammation in patients with lupus

Mar 04, 2009

Treatment with the targeted drug rituximab can significantly benefit some patients with severe lupus nephritis who do not respond to conventional therapy, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Jo ...

Oral contraceptives associated with increased risk of lupus

Apr 07, 2009

The ratio of women to men with the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is nine to one and the incidence increases after puberty. Hormones secreted by the body are therefore believed to play an important ...

Autoantibodies and neuropsychiatric events in lupus

Feb 28, 2008

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), commonly known as lupus, can affect nearly any part of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, nervous system, and brain. Along with joint pain, muscle pain, unexplained ...

Recommended for you

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

5 hours ago

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

US orders farms to report pig virus infections

Apr 18, 2014

The U.S. government is starting a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of a virus that has killed millions of pigs since showing up in the country last year.

Foreigner dies of MERS in Saudi

Apr 18, 2014

A foreigner has died after she contracted MERS in the Saudi capital, the health ministry said on announced Friday, bringing the nationwide death toll to 73.

Vietnam battles fatal measles outbreak

Apr 18, 2014

Vietnam is scrambling to contain a deadly outbreak of measles that has killed more than 100 people, mostly young children, and infected thousands more this year, the government said Friday.

New clues on tissue scarring in scleroderma

Apr 18, 2014

A discovery by Northwestern Medicine scientists could lead to potential new treatments for breaking the cycle of tissue scarring in people with scleroderma.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.