Exercise for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Webinar

Tuesday, 23 May 2023 5:00pm - 6:30pm AEST

Exercise as Adjunctive Therapy for People with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Webinar

This webinar will discuss the pathophysiology, common treatments, and evidence of exercise in systemic lupus erythematous (SLE) and provide you with practical exercise considerations for when you are working with someone with SLE.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a heterogenous multisystem autoimmune disease characterised by an immune response to self-antigens, resulting in inflammation and damage to joints, tissues, and/or internal organs. SLE is a rare disease with an estimated worldwide prevalence of 20 to 150 cases per 100,000 persons, with higher prevalence in women, particularly those of childbearing ages and certain ethnicities such as Hispanic and Asian populations. Management or “usual care” in SLE may include, but not limited to pharmacological measures such as conventional synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (csDMARDs), biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs), and/or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). It can also include non-pharmacological such as sun avoidance, Vitamin D supplementation, and physical activity (PA) and exercise. 

People with SLE are less physically active than people without SLE, with sixty percent of people with SLE not meeting the WHO recommendations for PA. Additionally, physical inactivity increases the risk of developing comorbidities such as osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease (CVD), which are common in people with SLE due to long-term medication use and inherent risk of SLE. Furthermore, a significant inverse relationship between PA and fatigue has been identified in people with SLE, thus, it is proposed that exercise is a potential strategy for the management of fatigue in this population, reduce the risk of CVD, and improve overall health related quality of life (HRQOL). 

Overall, the available evidence of exercise in SLE suggests that exercise is safe, with no reported adverse effects, and is effective in reducing levels of fatigue and depression and improving physical fitness and physical functioning in people with SLE. However, the quality of the intervention studies is either poor or fair, with a high risk of bias and imprecision. More intervention studies, with more participants with SLE, are warranted to improve the evidence of exercise effectiveness and safety.