Cardiovascular health is an important part of many healthcare initiatives in the United States. While most public health campaigns are designed to focus upon the general population, there are some adults who suffer from abnormal cardiovascular health in response to a specific disease risk.
Systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE, is an autoimmune disease that leads to adverse health outcomes in terms of cardiovascular health. Because connective tissue is adversely affected by SLE, patients with lupus are often at greater risk for thrombosis and vasculitis. To offset this risk, therefore, it is important to manage your cardiovascular health more diligently.
Atherosclerosis is significantly greater in patients with lupus, or SLE. In fact, the risk for cardiovascular complications is so significant that many patients find they are at an increased risk as early as age 35. With the autoimmune effect of SLE also playing a key role in abnormal metabolic processes and insulin resistance, your cardiovascular risk may be only further compounded. Peripheral vascular disease is a more complex condition that is also closely associated with many lupus patients.
Peripheral vascular disease, PVD, is a complication of lupus that is not widely studied. However, like atherosclerosis and other cerebrovascular events, PVD is a significant complication that must not be ignored. Asking your physician to test and manage any abnormal lipid levels may be the number one factor in improving your PVD complications. Because long term steroid use may play a role in your abnormal lipid level and the management of lipid complication, PVD may be quite difficult to manage as well.
Diagnostic studies including the Thallium-201 muscle perfusion scan and the Doppler ultrasonography can be used to detect PVD complications. While these studies are not considered routine, as a lupus patient, if you have a long term use of steroids or you experience abnormalities with lipid levels, it may be prudent to ask about the studies.
As with any complication that arises out of lupus and other autoimmune disease, it is important to seek medical attention regularly when complications begin but to also become familiar with the risks involved with the disease and how best to prevent them. Because peripheral vascular disease, PVD, is a complication that is not often addressed, you may have to ask your physician to run the specific studies into this cardiovascular complication.
In doing so, you can reduce your risk for long term cardiovascular complications that are more common among lupus patients than the general population.