For patients with rheumatoid arthritis, the risk of a heart attack goes up by 60 percent,just after a year of the initial diagnosis, reveals a new study.
Swedish researchers followed 7,469 patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to determine the risk of ischaemic heart disease, with particular reference to myocardial infarction (heart attack).
"Our findings emphasise the importance of monitoring a patient's heart risk from the moment they are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, as the risk rises rapidly in the first few years" said lead author Marie Holmqvist from the Karolinska Institutet.
The risk of an acute heart attack rose by 60 per cent one to four years after diagnosis.
"Our study confirms the increased risk of heart disease and heart attacks that patients with RA face. However it also adds three important observations to previous research," said Marie Holmqvist.
"Our research underlines the importance of clinicians monitoring patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis for an increased risk of heart problems, in particular heart attacks," concluded Holmqvist.
The findings were published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.