A new five-year study has indicated that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) sufferers are at an increased risk of dying due to cardiovascular disease.
The study 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.
Over 400 people with RA were followed from date of diagnosis for five years.
After five years, 97 pc of the patients had been treated with disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), reducing both the chemical markers of inflammation and the physical appearance of their arthritis.
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 arthritis 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 Wallberg-Jonsson from University Hospital, Umea, in Sweden said, “Inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis 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.”
The study has been published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.