Rheumatoid Arthritis Linked to Increased Heart Disease Risk

Those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis are at increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, a new study finds.

Those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are at increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, a new study finds. The study, published online today in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy, found that the increased risk of cardiovascular disease was due to disease-related inflammation as well as risk factors that affect the general population.

In the study, 442 RA patients in Sweden were followed for five years from the date of diagnosis. During this time, the progression of their disease was measured using chemical markers of inflammation and physical appearance. Treatment methods were monitored along with risk factors for heart disease including weight, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking.

Analysis of the data found that a new cardiovascular event such as heart disease, stroke, or deep venous thrombosis was correlated with intensity of the arthritis and presence of diabetes, high blood pressure, and triglyceride level. Treatment with disease modifying antirheumatic drugs reduced the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, but use of COX-2 inhibitors increased risk.

SourceCardiovascular events in early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are a result of inflammatory burden and traditional risk factors: a five year prospective study [Arthritis Research & Therapy]