The Connection Between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Heart Disease
Living with rheumatoid arthritis is no easy feat, and some new research indicates that the stress from having it takes its toll on our bodies.
The Swedish study, published in this month's issue of the Journal of Internal medicine, found that in just a year after being diagnosed with RA, a patient's risk of having a heart attack is 60 percent higher. The study followed 7,469 patients diagnosed with RA for over a decade to study the risk of heart disease.
The finding stresses the importance of monitoring your heart after a diagnosis, and further emphasizes the necessity for taking care of your overall well-being.
Lead author Marie Holqvist noted that the study has contributed three important observations:
- The increased heart attack risk was apparent very soon after RA diagnosis, despite the fact that the median duration of symptoms before diagnosis was just over six months.
- Although RA has been caught earlier and treated more aggressively in the last decade, increased heart attack risks were still seen in patients diagnosed in the last five to ten years.
- Both rheumatoid factor positive and rheumatoid factor negative were associated with an increased heart attack risk.
Holmqvist, who is from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, said of the study, Our research underlines the importance of clinicians monitoring patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis for an increased risk of heart problems, in particular heart attacks."
She added, "It is also very clear that more research is needed to determine the mechanisms that link these two health conditions.
Read more about the key findings of the study at ScienceDaily.