SLE is a common autoimmune disease with considerable morbidity. Ramadan fasting is a religious custom Muslims regularly practice. We aimed to evaluate the effect of Ramadan fasting on SLE patients’ disease activity, health quality of life and lipid profile. We conducted this case control study as a pilot study in 40 quiescent SLE patients, 21 cases who decided to fast and 19 controls who decided not to have Ramadan fasting between August and November 2009 in lupus unit of Rheumatology Research Center in Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran. They were assessed for SLE Disease Activity Index, lipid profile and quality of life with Short-Form 36 (SF-36) Health Survey, 1 day before Ramadan, the day after and 3 months after Ramadan fasting. After 24.1 ± 5.4 (mean ± SD) days of fasting, anti-ds DNA increased for 0.34 ± 0.41 mmol/dL in cases versus 0.07 ± 0.31 in controls (P = 0.026). Likewise C3 increased more dramatically in cases (16.8 ± 17.5 vs. 2.3 ± 13.2 mg/dL, P = 0.006). Three months after fasting, anti-ds DNA was still increased 0.28 ± 0.46 mmol/dL in cases while a 0.02 ± 0.43 mmol/dL drop in controls was detected (P = 0.04). On the contrary, C3 returned to baseline. These changes were not accompanied with significant changes in disease activity and health quality of life. Ramadan fasting had no effect on lipid profile except for delayed total cholesterol decrease in cases in comparison with controls (16.4 ± 29.4 decrease vs. 4.6 ± 23.9 mg/dL decrease, P = 0.018). Ramadan fasting probably has no detrimental effect on SLE patients’ disease activity and their quality of life in the quiescent phase of disease.
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Conflict of interest
The authors would like to declare no potential conflicts of interest.
The study was conducted in accordance with instructions of the ethical committee in our academic center.
All patients were asked to sign the informed consent form.
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