19:44 PM

Lupus and Heart Disease: Why You’re at Increased Risk

CreakyJoints explains the link between lupus and heart disease with guidance from experts including Theodore R. Fields, MD, FACP, rheumatologist at HSS.

According to Dr. Fields, “The level of systemic inflammation in lupus can be quite high, and this can cause more atherosclerosis [fatty plaques] to develop.”

He said, “Prednisone is frequently used in lupus as an anti-inflammatory steroid. There is some data suggesting that higher doses of prednisone can increase the risk of coronary disease.” These drugs can raise blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.

“There is reason to believe that medications, such as hydroxychloroquine, methotrexate, or mycophenolate mofetil, each of which are used for different presentations of lupus, can decrease heart risk by decreasing inflammation in the system,” noted Dr. Fields.

There are some risk factors that can be controlled. “[Patients] can avoid smoking, try to get themselves to their ideal weight, watch their cholesterol through diet (and medication when indicated), and develop an aerobic exercise program if they are able,” added Dr. Fields.

Read the full article at Creakyjoints.org.