Posted 11/28/2007 10:02 PM (GMT -7)
You have brought up a very valid question. I had a stroke in 2002. 2 years after my diagnosis of lupus. I have the antiphospholipid syndrome or APS. It's a protein that lupus will create that makes the blood thick and sticky. That syndrome, along with microscopic pieces of my mitral heart valve, caused the stroke. My mitral valve was inflamed. So the little pieces sort of broke off into my blood stream. The inflamed heart valve disorder is called Libman Sach's Endocarditis.
So that is one cause for a stroke with lupus. Other causes are vasculitis. Or inflamed blood vessels. If you have that along with CNS lupus, that is a risk.
Another one that is not mentioned very often because it is rare, is the health of our vertibral arteries (located on either side of the vertibrae in our neck). They're big, major arteries that supply a lot of blood to the brain. If the arteries are dissected in any way - meaning if they look like a wiggly worm with lots of bumps and narrow places, then that can be a cause for stroke as well. I had that! Didn't know it until I had a routine MRI to check on my stroke recovery. Within a year, the arteries had healed themselves. It was weird.... That is why I can't have manual neck adjustments at the chiropractor. Big no no.
Having the ultrasound done on your neck is a very wise thing. My guess is that they're looking at the vertibral arteries, the Circle of Willis, and your carotid and jugular veins. If you "google" Circle of Willis, it will explain everything to you. Easier than me typing it!
Mini strokes, or TIA's (trans ischemic attacks) are serious. There is really no such thing as a mini stroke. Every stroke, needs to be taken equally as serious. The word mini should be removed. Every stroke has complications and side effects.
Mine was considered "mild". But it left me with a seizure disorder, balance problems, and a slightly crooked smile. I don't have as much muscle control on the right side of my face. It's barely noticeable, but I do smile differently now.
So yes, lupus can cause strokes. No doubt about it. Make sure you get tested for APS. First and foremost. It's treated with daily aspirin for mild cases, and blood thinners like Warfarin, Coumadin or Heparin for more serious cases (that's me).
This is a lot of information. I hope I haven't put you in a panic. But knowledge is power! Take this info and ask your doctors about it okay. Get them to explain everything to you in terms that you can understand. So many doctors talk to us like we're doctors ourselves.... Annoying. If you don't understand something they tell you, ask them to explain it in a different way.
Please don't hesitate to ask anything else about this okay. I know there are others here who have had strokes too. Keep us posted on how you're doing okay,
I can do anything through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. I have learned in whatever state I am in,to be content. Phillipians 4:11-13
33 years old. Diagnosed with lupus in 2000. Fibromyalgia, anti-phospholipid syndrome(APS)(stroke),Sjogren's, Raynaud's, seizure disorder-(miraclulously disappeared!), Libman Sach's Endocarditis, vasculitis, sacroiliitis, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia. Prednisone, Imuran, Coumadin, Clobazam, Amitriptyline, didrocal, monopril, calcium, Cykolokapron, multi-vitamin, vitamin D, Magnesium, vitamin B6, Acidophilus