Women who have lupus and who are obese tend to report worse outcomes when it comes to disease activity, depression, pain, and fatigue, according to research presented at the 2017 American College of Rheumatology annual meeting in San Diego.

“Our findings have important clinical implications, because the patient-reported outcomes we measured, particularly pain and fatigue, are known to have profound effects on quality of life and remain a major area of unmet need for people with lupus,” said lead author Sarah Patterson, a rheumatology fellow at University of California, San Francisco.

The association that the researchers found between obesity and exacerbated outcomes among 148 patients highlights the need for “lifestyle interventions targeting lupus patients who are overweight,” Patterson added. “I hope this work sparks greater interest and motivation among rheumatologists to address weight management with their lupus patients.”

Women are nine to 10 times likelier to develop lupus than men are, and it’s two to three times more common in women of color. Obesity is a common lupus comorbidity.

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