Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients face a two-fold increased risk of suffering a Myocardial Infarction (MI, heart attack) versus the general population, which is comparable to the increased risk of MI seen in diabetes patients, says a new study.
In this Danish, nationwide, 10-year study, RA and diabetes patients were directly compared to assess their individual risk of having an MI over time.
"While we already know that RA is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, our data highlight that the increased risk of a heart attack faced by RA patients is of a similar magnitude as that faced by diabetes patients, who in contrast to RA patients are routinely considered for intensive cardiovascular risk management," said Dr. Jesper Lindhardsen, Department of Cardiology, Gentofte University Hospital, Hellerup, Denmark, and lead author of the study.
"This study underlines the importance of implementing EULAR recommendations advocating early detection and management of cardiovascular risk factors, as well as providing sufficient RA treatment in order to reduce the significant burden associated with cardiovascular disease co-morbidity and mortality," Lindhardsen added.
The study has been presented at EULAR 2010, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Rome, Italy.