Arthritis

Updated 12 January 2016

Arthritis inflammation tied to heart disease

People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are at increased risk of death from heart disease and other cardiovascular events due to RA-related inflammation and other risk factors, a new study indicates.

0

It also found that treating RA inflammation with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and the risk factors for heart disease reduced the risk.

The study included more than 400 patients who were followed for five years after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers monitored the patients' disease progression, treatment programmes and traditional risk factors for heart disease, including weight, cholesterol levelsblood pressure, diabetes and smoking.

Read: SMS may cause shoulder pain

After five years, 97% of the patients had been treated with DMARDs, which reduced inflammation. Many of the patients had also made lifestyle changes that reduced their cardiovascular disease risk.

Arthritis and heart disease

The patient data showed that cardiovascular events such as heart disease, stroke or deep vein thrombosis could be predicted by the intensity of arthritis and by diabetes, high blood pressure and triglyceride levels.

Read: Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis

The researchers also found that treatment with DMARDs decreased the risk, but treatment with cox 2 inhibitors appeared to increase the risk.

The study was published in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy.

"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," said Dr Wallberg-Jonsson from University Hospital, Umea, in Sweden

Read more:

7 everyday things that could be damaging your joints

Can eating a healthy diet improve arthritis symptoms? 

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Arthritis expert

Professor Asgar Ali Kalla completed his MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 1975 at the University of Cape Town and his FRCP in 2003 in London. Professor Ali Kalla is the Isaac Albow Chair of Rheumatology at the University of Cape Town and also the Head of Division of Rheumatology at Groote Schuur Hospital. He has participated in a number of clinical trials for rheumatology and is active in community outreach. Prof Ali Kalla is an expert in Arthritis for Health24.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules