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Narrowing of the Kidneys’ Arteries is Linked to Heart Disease in People with Lupus Nephritis

by | Feb 5, 2021

Severe renal arteriosclerosis (r-ASCL), or narrowing of the arteries in the kidneys, is linked to a significantly increased risk of heart disease in people with lupus nephritis (LN), according to new research.

The study of 189 people with LN found 39% of subjects had some degree of r-ASCL and 12% had moderate-severe r-ASCL. Twelve percent also developed atherosclerosis cardiovascular disease (ACVD), a type of heart disease caused by high cholesterol. Severe r-ASCL was associated with a 9-times higher risk of developing ACVD. Chronic kidney disease at stage 3 or higher was also associated with a higher risk of ASCVD. However, only 9% of the people in high-risk categories who were eligible for prescribed statins were prescribed them. Statins are drugs that help lower cholesterol and therefore lower risk of heart disease or stroke.

Study author Shivani Garg, MD, MS, shared “There is limited research on early predictors of atherosclerosis cardiovascular disease (ACVD) risk in young patients with lupus nephritis. Our study highlights the possible role of renal arteriosclerosis (r-ASCL) at the time of lupus nephritis diagnosis as an early predictor of ASCVD risk. These findings will form the basis of further research into r-ASCL as a predictor of ASCVD events and has the potential to guide timely prevention of this type of heart disease.”

People with lupus nephritis (LN) have a 9-times greater risk of developing ACVD, and heart disease is one of the leading complications of lupus. The latest research not only underscores the link between LN and heart disease, but also reveals important opportunities to improve preventive care. Learn more about lupus and heart health.

Read the study

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