Re: Sjogrens and heart disease
I was diagnosed with sjogren's in 2007, and I didn't know I had it. I was getting these huge cysts in the orbit of my eye, and not one dr knew what it was (still don't know). I've seen allergists, eye dr's, GI, you name it.
I noticed my bp started to rise last year, and up to that point had been normal. However, I asked the dr to do further testing, and it showed I have an 80% blockage in my left renal artery; narrowing of the right renal; narrowing of the right carotid and 30% blockage in my left carotid. My cholesterol in the past was 205 and 245 at its highest but is down at 170. I can't have an angiogram or angioplasty in my renal artery because I am allergic to contrast dye. They suggested prednisone and benadryl given prophylactically but they can't guarantee 100% that I won't react. I am hypersensitive to prednisone and benadryl (I have lots of allergies), so I can't take those. The artery looks looped and tortuous on an MRA I had done with gadolinium (although the radiologist could not confirm the condition of the arteries without the cta). My pressure is on the high side and they tried all classes of bp meds initially, but I reacted poorly to even the lowest dosages (severe headaches, vomiting and a rise of bp to 250/135 and I had to be hospitalized). It turned out I should have been on ace inhibitors, however, they gave me xanax to keep me calm and that reduced my bp to 120's-150/70-90's - it varies so much.
The other reason they want a CTA of my renal an carotid is to see if the narrowing is from fibromuscular dysplasia (which is a narrowing of the arteries but not from artherosclerosis). It is very frightening. On top of that, I have a thickening of the left adrenal gland with a nodule, and a nodule/cyst or hemangioma on my liver and lower back.
About 2 months ago, I woke up one morning hemorraging from the rectum (I thought it was Pomegranate juice because I had consumed a bottle of it the night before reading it might clear plaque from the arteries). By time I went to the bathroom the 8th time, I knew it probably wasn't the juice. I was also passing clots. I was rushed to the hospital and had an emergency endoscopy and colonoscopy, and although they found massive diverticulosis (which has been there for years), they could not isolate the location of the bleeding. As quick as it started, it stopped over 48 hours. My hematocrit dropped to 7.7 however, and I did not want a blood transfusion so I took iron and it has risen back to normal.
I have constant pain in the left upper quadrant and don't know if it is the spleen, liver or heart or even the renal artery since everything is so close together. Perhaps this hemangioma is causing the pain. Again, each dr passes me off to the other, and my GP is wonderful but every test ordered leads to more confusion. The vascular surgeon can't see me anymore since I won't have the angiogram.
The interesting thing is that I subscribe by email to Rheumatoid arthritis magazine. I don't think we are allowed to link articles, however, in the latest issue it mentioned that people with RA (I have osteoarthritis) have more plaque in their arteries and more heart problems. People commented on the article, and some stated that there are over 80 autoimmune disesases and that it is a good idea to go to the autoimmune disease main website to look them all up and there is a possibility that they, too, can cause plaque build-up.
Since you had carotid issues, and I have both, and we both have sjorgren's, I am wondering if that is the connection to both of our problems. I think I will ask the vascular surgeon or go to the angioplasty forum and post a question there about it. It is definitely worth investigating.
I will post back when I learn more. Stay tuned and good luck!