Blood Pressure Levels at Night May Indicate Cardiovascular Risk in Children with Lupus
A new study finds that children with lupus with low disease activity who experience non-dipping, or blood pressure that does not decrease during sleep, are at greater risk of endothelial dysfunction (22%), a type of coronary artery disease, with 60% exhibiting early signs of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). A drop in blood pressure during sleep is normal in healthy individuals.
A group of children and adolescents ages 9-19 underwent a series of cardiovascular (CV) exams, including 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. Their blood pressure was monitored every 20 minutes while awake and every 30 minutes during sleep. Of the group, 50% experienced non-dipping. Those exhibiting non-dipping had a higher body mass index and high cholesterol levels. In adults, non-dipping is a marker of increased CV risk, organ damage and death. The study suggests the same for children though further investigation is needed to determine whether non-dipping is predictive of vascular disease progression, and whether it may serve as a potential therapeutic target in children with lupus.
Lead study author, Joyce Chang, received Lupus Foundation of America’s 2018 Gary S. Gilkeson Career Development Award. The award was created to support early career scientists working toward establishing a lupus research career. Chang was able to start her research when she received her award and she has been able to continue her research in the field ever since. Learn more about Dr. Chang’s work.