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.
At 23, I was on top of the world. I had my dream job as a writer and traveled all over North America to research stories. I bought my first townhouse. I was loving life.
After a trip to Montreal, I developed the flu. I was exhausted. I often got tired after trips, but this time was different. My hands were shaking, my joints were stiff, and my heart was racing. I could barely make it up the stairs. In the days following, my symptoms worsened. The pain felt even worse when doctor after doctor could...