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Jeffrey Curtis, MD, MS, MPH: The Effects of Connective Tissue Diseases on Cardiovascular Risk

Managing CTDs may have an overall benefit on cardiovascular health.

Connective tissue diseases (CTDs), like gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus, have been known to affect cardiovascular (CV) health and increase risk in patients. For example, patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis have a 50% increase in risk for CV events and associated deaths.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Jeffrey Curtis MD, MS, MPH, Professor of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, discussed what is currently known so far about the influence of CTDs on the cardiovascular system. He also provided a brief overview of a related presentation he gave at the Clinical Congress of Rheumatology (CCR) East 2020.

According to Curtis, high systemic inflammation on the vasculature caused by these diseases as well as the use of certain medications may lead to adverse CV profiles. To hear such news, of course, can be discouraging for the patient.

However, there is a hope that they can still latch onto.

Managing the patient’s CTD may ultimately benefit the cardiovascular system and improve risk, Curtis noted. He called this positive outcome the “good side effects” of certain therapies aimed at getting the disease near or close-to-near remission.

“I think that’s an encouraging message,” he said. “Patients are used to hearing a lot from both us and television ads about bad things that our drugs can do. But, on the upside, not only will they feel better, there are probably really favorable effects on the heart.”