You know, I have had heart surgery because of an electrical short in my heart. It is called supraventricular tachycardia. In short, my heart would go from a noral rate to extremely high rates, and my heart could not beat properly and would quiver in my chest. I would have to go to the ER where they would literally stop my heart and hope that it would begin regular beating again. There is not a word that I can think of to describe how it feels to lay there and feel your heart stop and wait for it to begin again.
In the end, I had a coronary ablation and it involved going into my heart from my neck and groin area. It was a scary time. I wrote letters to all my immediate family and made amends with those I needed to. I knew how it feels to acknowledge the immediacy of your possible death.
It all turned out ok. The end product of this experience is that I faced the possibility of death, and stayed calm. I am fine now. However, lupus presents another possibility of heart issues and this article I found at www.medicalnewsolline.com tells us of the possibilities that can occur with lupus. I hope you find it as informative as I did!
Heart disease is a major complication of lupus and is now a leading cause of death among people living with autoimmune disease. Individuals with lupus are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), which involves hardening of the arteries and can lead to heart attacks or strokes later in life. As the nation observes February as “National Heart Month,” the Lupus Foundation of America is calling attention to this serious complication of lupus, an autoimmune disease that affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans.
Lupus is a chronic (lifelong) disease in which the immune system fails to tell the difference between foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria, and the body’s own cells. The immune system then produces auto-antibodies (“auto” means “self”) which mistakenly attack healthy tissue. These auto-antibodies cause inflammation, pain and damage to various parts of the body, including the heart, lungs, kidneys and brain.
Several studies have provided evidence that inflammation plays a role in heart disease. Inflammation causes a build-up of fatty deposits called plaque within coronary arteries, blood clots, and blockage of blood vessels within the heart – placing one at increased risk for heart attack.
As the outlook for people with lupus has improved significantly over the past few decades, heart disease and other cardiac problems have surfaced as the most serious long-term risk for people suffering from lupus. Several decades ago, when lupus patients died shortly after developing lupus, the cause of death was often attributed to undiagnosed and untreated lupus. However, when patients lived for years after their diagnosis, the main cause of death changed to atherosclerosis, which occurs when cholesterol and other fatty deposits block the passageways where blood flows to the heart.
In studies that compared a group of women with lupus to a group of healthy women, researchers found that the lupus patients were more likely to have traditional risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes and hypertension. In addition, these women had an earlier onset of menopause, and had higher levels of unsafe blood fats, including triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. These factors are all exacerbated by the inflammation caused by lupus and contribute to the increased risk of coronary heart disease and accelerated atherosclerosis.