Health News: Lupus Flares and Heart Disease

Lupus is a bigger risk factor for heart disease than smoking: but why? Lupus sufferers have periods of relative wellness followed by “flares” in which the lupus acts up. Researchers are beginning a study that will use MRI technology to get pictures of beating hearts during a flare that they hope will yield clues as to why the combination of lupus and heart disease is so deadly.

Due to the chronic nature of lupus, the study will track patients through multiple flares. The researchers will pair imaging findings with biomarkers, looking for clues that could lead to early intervention. “It’s important to note that even though people with lupus are at an increased risk for heart disease, they can still do things to lower their risk like optimize weight, exercise, and eliminate tobacco use,” said Subha Raman, MD.