Rheumatoid arthritis drugs 'could cut heart risk'

Posted on 15 August 2011

Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, who could be paying for care due to the condition, may be at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

The risk of the heart condition for those with rheumatoid arthritis was seen to be caused by disease-related inflammation as well as risk factors which also affect the general population, according to a study published in journal Arthritis Research & Therapy.

Treatment with disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) was also seen to cut the patient's risk of heart disease.

Data analysis revealed that a new cardiovascular event such as heart disease or stroke could be predicted by looking at the intensity of the arthritis and the presence of diabetes, high blood pressure and the level of triglycerides.

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."

Meanwhile, Neil Betteridge, chief executive of Arthritis Care, warned that rheumatoid arthritis must be detected as soon as possible, as new therapies can be powerful when employed in the early stages of the condition.

Posted by Natalie Edwards

 

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