Two new studies have reported a link between Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Heart Disease. Both the studies have suggested that patients suffering with RA should pay attention to their heart health and seek aggressive screening from their doctors and adopt a heart friendly lifestyle.
One of the study was reported in the journal of Arthritis and Rheumatism. It was lead by researchers of university of Texas health science center, which stated that patients with RA were found to be nearly three times more at risk of developing Atherosclerosis (heart disease) as compared to people who are not suffering with RA. Atherosclerosis is a condition in which fat gets deposited on the walls of arteries resulting into narrowing of arteries. This condition further leads to heart attack, coronary heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular events. Apart from obesity, poor diet, diabetes, smoking and high blood pressure, RA is another factor increasing the risk of Atherosclerosis.
According to the researchers, physicians should evaluate or screen RA patients in case any suspicious heart symptoms appear, even minor ones. Sometimes the heart symptoms may be subtle, as patient with RA have decreased physical activity.
The study concluded that RA patient have a predisposition to Atherosclerosis and have increased incidences of cardiovascular events as compared to persons of the same age and gender.
Another study, reported in the journal of rheumatology was focused on the patients who were suffering with RA for a long time (approx. 20 yrs or more). The Swedish researchers in the university hospital of Umea in Sweden led the study; they said it is important that in addition to the treatment of arthritis, RA patients should be screened and treated for cardiovascular risk factors including high cholesterol.
The researchers suggested that further research work is required to determine more factors linking heart disease and RA so that meaningful recommendation can be advised to the RA patients.