Arthritis sufferers at increased risk of heart disease

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) sufferers are at an increased risk of dying due to cardiovascular disease. A new five year study published in BioMed Central's open access journal Arthritis Research & Therapy showed that the risk of cardiovascular disease for people with RA is due to disease-related inflammation as well as the risk factors which affect the general population. Treatment of arthritis with disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) also reduced the patient's risk of heart disease.

Over 400 people with RA were followed from date of diagnosis for five years. Progression of their disease was measured using chemical markers of inflammation and physical appearance. Treatment regimes were monitored along with risk factors for heart disease, including weight, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, diabetes and smoking.

After five years, 97% of the patients had been treated with DMARDs, reducing both the chemical markers of inflammation and the physical appearance of their arthritis. Patients were also looking after themselves better - fewer patients were smokers and their BMI, and blood pressure, had reduced (due in part to treatment for high blood pressure).

Analysis of the patient data revealed that a new cardiovascular event such as heart disease, stroke or DVT could be predicted by intensity of their and by presence of diabetes, high blood pressure, and the level of triglycerides. Encouragingly treatment with DMARDs decreased the risk but COX-2 inhibitors appeared to predict a new event.

Dr Wållberg-Jonsson from University Hospital, Umeå, in Sweden said, "Inflammation associated with increases patients risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular events. However it is possible to reduce this risk in a two-pronged attack by treating both the inflammation and traditional risk factors for heart disease."

More information: Cardiovascular events in early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are a result of inflammatory burden and traditional risk factors: a five year prospective study, Lena Innala, Bozena Möller, Lotta Ljung, Staffan Magnusson, Torgny Smedby, Anna Sodergren, Marie-Louise Öhman, Solbritt Rantapää-Dahlqvist and Solveig Wållberg-Jonsson, Arthritis Research & Therapy, (in press)

Related Stories

Early and aggressive arthritis treatment recommended

date Jun 23, 2010

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) should be used early and aggressively at the first sign of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The results of an 11-year trial, published in BioMed Central's open access journal Arthritis Re ...

Recommended for you

Catheterization increasing for seniors with STEMI

date 2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—From 1999 to 2009 there was a decrease in the proportion of older adults with ST-segment elevation acute myocardial infarction (STEMI) who did not undergo cardiac catheterization, according ...

Race influences warfarin dose, study says

date 11 hours ago

A new report demonstrates that clinical and genetic factors affecting dose requirements for warfarin vary by race. The study, published online today in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), propose ...

Even moderate BMI reduction could ease A-fib burden

date 13 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Incremental increases in body mass index (BMI) are associated with excess risk of incident, postoperative, and post-ablation atrial fibrillation (AF), according to a review published online ...

Personalized saline may provide solution to heart death

date 15 hours ago

Saline solution is a staple of every hospital. No matter the ailment, doctors have known for more than a century that saline is key to keeping patients hydrated and maintaining their blood pressure levels. ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.