People with lupus have two categories of risk factors for heart disease. The traditional risk factors that affect the general population apply to people with lupus and appear more frequently among them. But lupus itself raises additional risks of coronary artery disease, or blockage in the arteries.
Traditional risks for heart disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Lack of exercise
Risks specific to lupus
- Older age at diagnosis
- Longer duration of the disease
- Longer periods of using corticosteroid medications
- More active lupus
- History of kidney disease
- Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Long-term use of corticosteroids
Controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol and making wise lifestyle choices like eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly are important ways you can modify these risks.
Always speak to your doctor before beginning an exercise program. A wide range of activities may be appropriate for people with lupus including dancing, biking, walking, yoga or water exercise.