A new study published in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy suggests that people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis are at a greater risk of dying from cardiovascular problems compared to those without arthritis.
The study was conducted by researchers at Sweden's Umea University and involved more than 400 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers observed the patients over a period of five years and monitored their disease progression and treatment programs along with traditional risk factors for heart disease such as weight, diabetes and cholesterol levels.
At the end of five years, over 97 percent of the patients had been treated with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and the researchers found that these drugs also acted favorably in reducing the risk of heart disease.
"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", lead researcher Dr Wallberg-Jonsson said.