Lupus and Coronary Artery Disease (Atherosclerosis)
People who have
lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE) are at
a higher risk for
plaque deposits in arteries (atherosclerosis) that may cause
coronary artery disease (CAD). And they develop these deposits at a younger age. This means that people with lupus are likely to have a
greater risk for CAD and for having a
heart attack due to a blockage of the blood flow to a part of the heart muscle. For people who have lupus, coronary artery disease is a major cause of illness and
death. It's not clear why people with lupus develop early CAD. But it may be related to ongoing inflammation and the response of the immune system.1
To address this increased risk of
atherosclerosis, some experts recommend that all people with lupus (regardless
of symptoms) be considered at increased risk for coronary artery
disease. Research continues for understanding and
then guiding treatment of this increased risk.
If you have lupus, chances are good that you are no stranger to fatigue. It is one of the most common complaints among people with the disease.
Artist and children’s book illustrator Adjoa B., who asked that her last name be withheld to protect her privacy, knows what it's like.
“I do experience the fatigue,” says Adjoa, who was diagnosed with lupus in 1993. “By 8 p.m., I often feel like I need to go to bed.”
Now 54, the Annapolis, Md. resident says that she hasn't had the overwhelming fatigue...