-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- 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.
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 RA. Researchers monitored the
patients' disease progression, treatment programs and traditional
risk factors for heart disease, including weight, cholesterol
levels, blood pressure, diabetes and smoking.
After five years, 97 percent of the patients had been treated
with DMARDs, which reduced inflammation. Many of the patients had
also made lifestyle changes that reduced their cardiovascular
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
The researchers also found that treatment with DMARDs decreased
the risk, but treatment with cox 2 inhibitors appeared to increase
The study was published Aug. 15 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.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about
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