People with lupus are at higher risk for other serious conditions including atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).1,2 Cholesterol testing is one of several preventive health screenings recommended for adults to assess their ASCVD risk. A primary care provider (PCP) usually performs these regular screenings and assessments. Screening for elevated cholesterol can result in early and optimized treatment of high cholesterol, which can prevent ASCVD and cardiovascular events.3
PCPs, including general internists and family medicine doctors, typically manage and coordinate most of the health care a person receives.4,5 This includes wellness check-ups and critical screenings, such as for cancer and risk factors for heart attack and stroke.6 PCPs also provide lifestyle counseling and pharmacological treatment for conditions such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and type 2 diabetes.5,6 PCPs assess all of a patient’s medical problems and refer and defer to specialists, when needed, for the treatment of complex or chronic conditions.5
Patients with lupus usually require a specialist called a rheumatologist who has special training to manage their disease.7 In the best case, a patient’s PCP and rheumatologist communicate and work together to provide streamlined and comprehensive care. PCP are primarily in charge or responsible for screening for ASCVD risk in everyone including patients with lupus, while rheumatologists do not usually perform the types of regular screening, such as lipid testing, rheumatologist are also knowledgeable on concepts regarding CVD risk and can check your cholesterol level too.6
- Bartels CM, Buhr KA, Goldberg JW, et al. Mortality and cardiovascular burden of systemic lupus erythematosus in a US population-based cohort. J Rheumatol 2014; 41 (4): 680-687.
- Drosos GC, Vedder D, Houben E, Boekel L, Atzeni F, Badreh S, Boumpas DT, Brodin N, Bruce IN, González-Gay MÁ, Jacobsen S. EULAR recommendations for cardiovascular risk management in rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus and antiphospholipid syndrome. Ann Rheum Dis. 2022 Jun 1;81(6):768-79.
- Fanouriakis A, Kostopoulou M, Alunno A, Aringer M, Bajema I, Boletis JN, Cervera R, Doria A, Gordon C, Govoni M, Houssiau F. 2019 update of the EULAR recommendations for the management of systemic lupus erythematosus. Ann Rheum Dis. 2019 Jun 1;78(6):736-45
- Grundy SM, Stone NJ, Bailey AL, et al. 2018 AHA/ACC/AACVPR/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/ADA/AGS/APhA/ASPC/NLA/PCNA Guideline on the management of blood cholesterol. Circulation 2018: Cir0000000000000625.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. Choosing a primary care provider. 2017; https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001939.htm. Accessed June 7, 2019.
- Shi L. The impact of primary care: a focused review. Scientifica (Cairo) 2012; 2012: 432892.
- Curry SJ, Krist AH, Owens DK. Eighth Annual Report to Congress on High-Priority Evidence Gaps for Clinical Preventive Services. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force; Nov 2018.
- Arora S, Nika A, Trupin L, Abraham H, Block J, Sequeira W, Yazdany J, Jolly M. Does systemic lupus erythematosus care provided in a lupus clinic result in higher quality of care than that provided in a general rheumatology clinic?. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2018 Dec;70(12):1771-7.