Drug treatment also reduced the patient’s risk of heart disease.
A new study published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Arthritis Research & Therapy followed over 400 people with Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) from date of diagnosis for five years. Progression of their disease was measured using chemical markers of inflammation and physical appearance. Treatment regimes were monitored along with risk factors for heart disease, including weight, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, diabetes and smoking.
After five years, 97% of the patients had been treated with disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), reducing both the chemical markers of inflammation and the physical appearance of their arthritis. Patients were also looking after themselves better – fewer patients were smokers and their BMI, and blood pressure, had reduced (due in part to treatment for high blood pressure).
Analysis of the patient data revealed that a new cardiovascular event such as heart disease, stroke or DVT could be predicted by intensity of their arthritis and by presence of diabetes, high blood pressure, and the level of triglycerides. Encouragingly treatment with DMARDs decreased the risk but COX-2 inhibitors appeared to predict a new event.
Dr. Wållberg-Jonsson from University Hospital, Umeå, 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.”
For more information contact:
Solveig Wållberg-Jonsson, Norrlands University Hospital
Phone: +46 (0)730-68 55 74 or +46 (0)90-785 26 52 (secretary)
Cardiovascular events in early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are a result of inflammatory burden and traditional risk factors: a five year prospective study
L Innala, B Möller, L Ljung, S Magnusson, T Smedby, A Södergren, ML Öhman, S Rantapää-Dahlqvist and S Wållberg-Jonsson
Arthritis Research & Therapy 15 augusti 2011
Editor: Hans Fällman