A recent study of rheumatoid arthritis patients has found that those individuals have a higher risk of dying from heart disease and other cardiovascular events and that those risks can be reduced if proper precautions are taken.
The study included more than 400 patients who were monitored over five years from their time of diagnosis. Researchers monitored the diseases progression, each patients treatment program and monitored for traditional risk factors associated with heart disease (weight, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, diabetes and smoking).
According to USNews:
"[The Study] found that treating RA inflammation with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and the risk factors for heart disease reduced the risk."
Researchers found that after five years 97 percent of patients had been treated with DMARDs which are used to reduce inflammation, while they made lifestyle changes to avoid cardiovascular disease risk. DMARDs users were shown to have a decreased risk of death, while patients given cox 2 inhibitors seems to see an increase in risk.
According to researcher Dr. Wallberg-Jonsson from University Hospital, Umea, in Sweden:
"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."
As is always the case, people with any type of inflammation should have their heart monitored routinely and should take steps to stop ease that inflammation.
The study can be found i the Aug. 15 journal Arthritis Research Therapy.