Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality worldwide, with atherosclerosis accounting for most deaths. Inflammation is a key component in the pathogenesis of CVDs such as atherosclerosis, stroke, myocarditis, dilated cardiomyopathy, and heart failure. A number of recent clinical and animal model findings suggest that the pathogenesis of autoimmune and CVDs may be linked. Many potentially modifiable risk factors like diet, tobacco smoking, and infections have been associated with increased cardiovascular risk for both atherosclerosis and several autoimmune diseases including myocarditis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Although many autoimmune diseases are more prevalent in women, the risk for developing CVD remains elevated in men. Future studies should examine sex differences in CVD biomarkers following infection and/or toxicant exposure.