Rheum Round-up: Kim Kardashian’s Lupus Scare, The Reality of Sports Injuries, And More

Here are the top stories covered by DocWire News this week in the Rheumatology section. In this edition, read about Kim Kardashian’s recent health scare and why she’s not alone, why one notable orthopedic surgeon thinks sports injuries occur, how going vegan may help arthritis patients, and the connection between flares and gut microbiota in pregnant women with systemic lupus erythematosus.

Kim Kardashian West recently underwent medical tests after experiencing symptoms including, according to Kardashian West, numbness, swelling, fatigue, and nausea. The star underwent bloodwork and tested positive for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) antibodies. Subsequent screening found that she does not have either disease. Her doctor instead told her she likely has psoriatic arthritis, which commonly comes and goes. Before discovering her results were a false positive, Kardashian West expressed fear and sadness at the possibility of a lupus or RA diagnosis. But Kardashian West’s experience may not be entirely uncommon.

James Andrews, MD, is a well-known orthopedic surgeon in the world of sports. He is a founding member of the Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center, located in Birmingham, Ala., and he is a co-founder of the American Sports Medicine Institute. Today, he is the senior consultant for the Washington Redskins and orthopaedic medical director for the Tampa Bay Rays. The Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center’s website shares injury prevention strategies for numerous sports, including football. One such category of injury is overuse—a topic Dr. Andrews discussed during a recent interview, saying, “I think we have way too many games already,” adding, “It’s really related to the injuries that we see.”

RA patients could benefit from a plant-based diet, according to recent research. Past studies have established an association between excessive bodyweight and RA, and overweight RA patients tend to have worse outcomes compared to normal-weight patients. This can be attributed to the fact that excess fat in cells causes inflammation. The researchers also pointed out that “extra stress placed on weight-bearing joints by excess body weight further exacerbates inflammation in these patients,” making the case that weight management can help improve RA outcomes. Food choices also play a role in inflammation in the body. The researchers cited a 2015 study that found patients randomized to a vegan, vegetarian, or pesco-vegetarian diet had greater reductions in inflammatory scores than patients on a semi-vegetarian or omnivorous diet.

According to a new study published in Microbiome, the answer to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) flare ups in pregnant woman may lie in the gut microbiota. In this study, the researcher team assessed changes made to the gut microbiota structure with or without the occurrence of pregnancy and evaluated, in an animal-model, different responses of the immune system to the same microbiota-modulating strategies in unaffected versus postpartum lupus-prone mice. According to the results of the study, the strategies benefitting the unaffected mice exacerbated lupus in postpartum mice.