The risk of developing cardiovascular disease was, on average, 1.56 times higher in patients with autoimmune diseases. The risk increases even more when multiple autoimmune diseases occur together. More serious diseases include systemic sclerosis and Addison’s disease, as well as lupus and type 1 diabetes.
Overall, the autoimmune impact on cardiovascular health appears to be much greater than previously thought, according to the research team. They also found that the additional risk of developing cardiovascular disease was more pronounced in patients with autoimmune diseases aged less than 55 years.
“We see that the additional risk is comparable to that of type 2 diabetes. But when specific measures are taken for diabetic patients to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, this is not the case in patients with autoimmune disease,” says research leader Natalie Conrad. (KU Leuven). “These results show that we must act.”
The research will be presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s annual meeting this weekend and will be published in The Lancet.