Disease-specific definitions of vitamin D deficiency need to be established in autoimmune and non-autoimmune chronic diseases: a retrospective comparison of three chronic diseases

Anna R Broder, Jonathan N Tobin, Chaim Putterman
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2010, 12 (5): R191

INTRODUCTION: We compared the odds of vitamin D deficiency in three chronic diseases: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and type 2 diabetes (T2DM), adjusting for medications, demographics, and laboratory parameters, common to all three diseases. We also designed multivariate models to determine whether different factors are associated with vitamin D deficiency in different racial/ethnic groups.

METHODS: We identified all patients with non-overlapping diagnoses of SLE, RA, and T2DM, with 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) levels measured between 2000 and 2009. Vitamin D deficiency was defined as 25OHD levels <20 ng/ml, based on previously established definitions. Race/ethnicity was analyzed as African-American non-Hispanic (African-American), Hispanic non-African-American (Hispanic), and Other based on self report.

RESULTS: We included 3,914 patients in the final analysis: 123 SLE, 100 RA, and 3,691 T2DM. Among African-Americans the frequency of vitamin D deficiency was 59% in SLE, 47% in RA, and 67% in T2DM. Among Hispanics the frequency of vitamin D deficiency was 67% in SLE, 50% in RA, and 59% in T2DM. Compared with the SLE group, the adjusted odds ratio of vitamin D deficiency was 1.1, 95% CI (0.62, 2.1) in the RA group, and 2.0, 95% CI (1.3, 3.1) in the T2DM group. In the multivariate analysis, older age, higher serum calcium and bisphosphonate therapy were associated with a lower odds of vitamin D deficiency in all three racial/ethnic groups: 1,330 African-American, 1,257 Hispanic, and 1,100 Other. T2DM, serum creatinine, and vitamin D supplementation were associated with vitamin D deficiency in some, but not all, racial/ethnic groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in our patients with SLE, RA, and T2DM. While the odds of vitamin D deficiency are similar in RA and SLE patients in a multivariate analysis, T2DM patients have much higher odds of being vitamin D deficient. Different demographic and laboratory factors may be associated with vitamin D deficiency within different racial/ethnic groups. Therefore, disease-specific and race/ethnicity-specific definitions of vitamin D deficiency need to be established in future studies in order to define goals of vitamin D replacement in patients with autoimmune and non-autoimmune chronic diseases.

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