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Bottom Line on Diabetes vs Lupus and Stroke & Heart Attacks

Lupus and Stroke and Heart Attacks: A bigger problem than we thought!

We have known for a long time that a big problem for SLE patients: lupus and stroke and heart attacks.
Diabetes has been considered an important cause of heart attacks and strokes for a long time. While systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) has been noted by experts to also cause heart attacks and strokes, it has never been included in the main list of causes (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol).
The American Heart Association. A recent 2020 study in the journal Arthritis Care & Research looked at the Medicaid database from 29 states. They compared over 40,000 SLE patients with over 80,000 diabetics during the years 2007 and 2010. Lupus patients had a 27% higher chance of having heart attacks and strokes than the diabetics. The research has been overwhelming regarding how important of a risk factor lupus is for causing these problems. Heart attacks and strokes (i.e. cardiovascular disease) are the #1 cause of death in SLE patients, and these problems occur much earlier in life than they should. It is time for SLE to be added to the list of diseases that are most likely to increase the risk for having heart attacks and strokes.

The Bottom Line

If you have SLE, it is imperative that you do everything possible to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Make sure to read and practice everything in my “Lupus Secrets” for good advice on what to do.
There are many things you can do to reduce your chance of having lupus and stroke or heart attacks.
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat healthy (strongly consider eating an antiinflammatory diet)
  • Reduce stress
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Practice daily mindfulness
  • Don’t smoke
  • For more in-depth information on heart attacks and strokes and preventing them in lupus:

    Read chapters 11, 13, 21, 38, and 39 of The Lupus Encyclopedia, edition 2

    Look up your symptoms, conditions, and medications in the Index of The Lupus Encyclopedia

    If you enjoy the information from The Lupus Encyclopedia, please click the “SUPPORT” button at the top of the page to learn how you can help. 

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  1. I started following you after an MCTD diagnosis with a lupus segment. Thank you for all of the extrA efforts into educating myself and others with so many helpful tips on prevention through self reliance and changes we can take in our lives daily .
    Education and a plan forward has meant everything to me in a state of almost constant remission, with a body and mind that have learned to self correct past bad habits that contributed to my issues

    • Nan: Thanks for taking the hard steps of learning and educating yourself. It does make a huge difference in the long run. I hope your future is much better. If anything comes out in the literature new on MCTD, I’ll make sure to post it… Dr T

  2. Heart is most valuable organ. You provide good information about heart attack tq for ur information I am ur fan from today. Iam from India. Hii dan Thomas md

    • Thank you very much for reading and commenting, Ramakrishna, from the other side of the world! (love how the internet connects all of us). I have to take a short 2-week break from blog writing, but will try to make time for a lung article… Donald Thomas, MD

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