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Lupus linked to heart disease

People with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have a more than two-fold higher risk of heart disease.

Lupus linked to heart disease

People with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have a more than two-fold higher risk of heart disease.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system confuses its own healthy tissues with foreign tissues and sometimes attacks both. The condition can manifest as a skin rash or arthritis and may lead to damage to the kidneys, heart, lungs and brain to varying degrees. The disorder disproportionately affects more women.

Despite improved life expectancy in the past few decades, increased heart-related illness and death among people with lupus has been documented in several studies.

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esearchers examined ties between lupus and cardiovascular disease among 119,332 women (American nurses), who were free of cardiovascular disease and lupus in 1976, were included in the study and were followed until 2004. Over 28 years of follow-up, there were 8,169 cardiovascular events, such as heart attack, stroke. Lupus was confirmed in 148 women and 20 of these women experienced a cardiovascular event. After allowing for multiple factors, having lupus was associated with a 2.3 fold heightened risk of suffering a cardiovascular event.

The researchers point out that the high risk of cardiovascular disease in lupus patients is probably caused by a combination of factors. While traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors are more prevalent in people with lupus, this does not fully explain the risk. It is unclear whether lupus itself or its treatment increases the risk.

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