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Keywords

African American women; Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular system – Diseases; Carotid atherosclerosis; Systemic lupus erythematosus; Women

Abstract

Women with lupus are at increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). Previous studies of atherosclerosis in SLE have not been representative of the minority groups most affected by lupus and its complications. Therefore, a study of 41 lupus cases and 83 controls was conducted to investigate the relationship between carotid atherosclerosis and inflammation in African-American women. Participation consisted of a questionnaire, physical examination, fasting blood draw, and ultrasound of the carotid arteries. There were observed differences between cases and controls with regard to carotid intima media thickness (IMT) and traditional cardiovascular risk factors, although few reached statistical significance. Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha was significantly related to carotid IMT, lupus, body mass index, and hypertension, indicating that it may be an important factor to consider in future studies of cardiovascular risk in African American women with lupus. This study adds to scientific literature by demonstrating that there may be other factors in the link between SLE and CVD.