21:20 PM

Lupus, MS and Other Autoimmune Disorders Raise Heart Risks

HealthDay reports on a study published in The Lancet finding that people with an autoimmune disease may be 40% to more than three times more likely to develop heart disease than people without an autoimmune disorder, and includes commentary from HSS physician-in-chief S. Louis Bridges, Jr., MD, PhD, who was not involved in the study.

According to Dr. Bridges, “It has been known for a long time that there is substantially increased risk for cardiovascular disease in many inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus [SLE], inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis.”

He explained there are several possible explanations for this link: risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and obesity, are more common in some of these diseases than in the general population.

“Drugs commonly used to treat autoimmune diseases, such as corticosteroids, are also likely important factors in the increased risk of [heart disease] in patients with autoimmune diseases,” he added.

Dr. Bridges underscored ways to keep a heart healthy include eating a healthy diet, staying physically fit, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising and being active, not smoking, and drinking alcohol in moderation.

He continued, “Other tips that apply include managing stress, keeping good oral hygiene, and getting enough sleep.”

Dr. Bridges noted, "It is very important that young persons with autoimmune disease think about the many years that they will live with their condition.” He advised being aware of cholesterol and blood pressure and other risk factors and informing one’s primary care provider with any concerns.

Read the full article at Healthday.com.