HIV patients at increased risk of heart disease, stroke

HIV patients at increased risk of heart disease, stroke

By / Health / Wednesday, 05 June 2019 07:52

Patients with HIV are at a significantly higher risk of suffering from heart and blood vessel diseases as compared to those without the infection, scientists say.

According to a new scientific statement published in the journal Circulation, effective antiretroviral therapy has changed HIV from a progressive, fatal disease to a chronic, manageable condition that increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

“Considerable gaps exist in our knowledge about HIV-associated diseases of the heart and blood vessels, in part because HIV’s transition from a fatal disease to a chronic condition is relatively recent, so long-term data on heart disease risks are limited,” said Matthew J Feinstein, from Northwestern University in the US.

Interactions between traditional risk factors, such as diet, lifestyle and tobacco use, and HIV-specific risk factors, such as a chronically activated immune system and inflammation characteristic of chronic HIV contribute to the increased risk of heart and blood vessel diseases in HIV patients.

Heavy alcohol use, substance abuse, mood and anxiety disorders, low levels of physical activity and poor cardio-respiratory fitness are also common among people living with HIV and may contribute to elevated risk for diseases of the heart and blood vessels, according to the statement.

In addition, people living with HIV are often stigmatised and face significant barriers to optimal health care, such as education level, where they live, healthcare literacy, cognitive impairment, internalised and anticipated stigma, gait and mobility impairment, frailty, depression and social isolation.

Author

Hum Hindustani

Hum Hindustani

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