Universal Kidney Arteriosclerosis Screenings Critically Important for People with Lupus Nephritis
Research finds that people with the lupus-related kidney disease, lupus nephritis (LN), experience renal arteriosclerosis two decades earlier than their healthy peers. Renal arteriosclerosis refers to the abnormal thickening and hardening of artery walls inside the kidneys. Although arteriosclerosis becomes increasingly common later in life, the recent data illustrate how the disease may occur at an advanced rate within the LN population. Among the 189 people with LN included in the study, 40% showed premature signs of renal arteriosclerosis between the ages of 31-39, while those without LN did not reach similar prevalence rates until ages 50-59.
What’s more, researchers also found that pathologists missed reporting on the presence or absence of renal arteriosclerosis all together in 50% of routine kidney biopsy reports. Meanwhile, 40% of biopsy reports lacked details on arterial changes, and identification of arteriosclerosis varied due to inconsistent classification criteria. This stark gap in reporting underscores the need for universal screening procedures, as arteriosclerosis can be an early predictor of heart disease in people with LN.
People with lupus are at an increased risk for developing heart disease at an early age, and LN further increases that risk. However, diet, exercise, smoking cessation, and blood pressure and cholesterol control can all help support a healthy heart. Learn about how lupus affects the renal (kidney) system and tips for preventive cardiac care and lupus.