An excess of widespread pain among South Asians: are low levels of vitamin D implicated?
Macfarlane GJ., Palmer B., Roy D., Afzal C., Silman AJ., O'Neill T.
BACKGROUND: Anecdotal reports from rheumatologists in the United Kingdom suggest that patients from South Asian backgrounds are more likely to report widespread body pain. OBJECTIVE: To confirm the presence of an excess of widespread pain in South Asians, and to evaluate the relationship of their symptoms with levels of 25-OH vitamin D. METHODS: Two population studies involving over 3135 subjects were carried out in the North West and Midlands areas of England. RESULTS: The first study confirmed an excess of widespread pain among South Asians (OR = 1.6, 95% CI 1.3 to 2.1). The second smaller study conducted only among young women also showed a similar excess of widespread pain among South Asians (OR = 1.8, 95% CI 0.7 to 4.7) and found that low levels of 25-OH vitamin D (<10 ng/ml) were more common among those with widespread pain (OR = 3.5, 95% CI 0.4 to 31.0). CONCLUSIONS: Owing to the small numbers, the relationship between 25-OH vitamin D and widespread pain must be considered preliminary and requires further investigation. However, it may be one potentially treatable cause of widespread pain.