Lupus and Blood Pressure Complications
The symptoms of lupus are so nonspecific and can be like the symptoms of other diseases that it is devilishly hard for rheumatologists or any kind of medical professional to diagnose it.
Since just about every system in the body can be damaged by lupus, it’s not surprising that problems with the cardiovascular system can be a complication of the disease. In this article we’ll talk about the link between lupus and blood pressure as well as possible complications. Note that the risks of high blood pressure are especially acute during pregnancy when a woman with lupus can suffer from preeclampsia.
Medication, Lupus and Blood Pressure Connection
Doctors struggle to find ways to ease the suffering of lupus. Among the treatments they can prescribe are NSAIDs like ibuprofen, which ease the fever, pain and swelling. Stronger types of NSAIDs can be had by prescription, but they carry their own risks like bleeding in the stomach, renal problems and cardiovascular problems.
Another way to treat lupus is through steroid medication like prednisone. However, the side effects of these types of drugs can also be daunting. Among them is osteoporosis or a dangerous loss of bone density that can lead to fractures, diabetes and high blood pressure. The patient might also have a harder time fighting off infection.
Since lupus is considered an autoimmune disease, the doctor might also prescribe immunosuppressant drugs like cyclophosphamide, mycophenolate and methotrexate. Like most drugs, these also have side effects. Since they suppress the patient’s immune system, they are more prone to infection. Other complications can include damage to the liver, infertility, and a heightened risk for cancer.
Possible Lupus and Blood Pressure Complications
When a person has high blood pressure, the heart and arteries are working harder than they should and are under unusual stress. This causes the heart to enlarge and become less efficient and causes the arteries to harden and scar. This keeps blood from getting to the organs where it’s needed.
A narrowed artery might also trap a blood clot, which can lead to stroke, heart attack or kidney failure. If the patient has lupus, the high blood pressure that’s a side effect of a drug can be that much more devastating. The disease itself, after all, might have attacked the heart and the blood vessels and left them in a weakened state.
The high blood pressure caused by preeclampsia can kill both the mother and the baby if it’s left untreated. The woman not only has high blood pressure, but she produces protein in her urine. The mother may also suffer from debilitating headaches and might even experience temporary blindness. The only recourse is to deliver the baby even if the baby’s early. This is why doctors tell women with lupus to postpone pregnancy until the symptoms of their lupus have been gone for at least half a year.
A patient who’s suffering from high blood pressure because of the lupus medication needs to be monitored closely by the doctor and the doctor’s medical staff.