Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients At Higher Risk For Unrecognized Heart Disease And Cardiac Sudden Death

Date:
February 9, 2005
Source:
Mayo Clinic
Summary:
People with rheumatoid arthritis not only have a higher risk of coronary heart disease than those in the general population, but they have more silent, unrecognized heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths, according to a Mayo Clinic study published in the February issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- People with rheumatoid arthritis not only have a higher risk of coronary heart disease than those in the general population, but they have more silent, unrecognized heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths, according to a Mayo Clinic study published in the February issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://www.rheumatology.org/publications/ar). They are also much less likely to complain of chest pain.

Related Articles


The increased heart disease risk may be present even before the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, according to the researchers. During the two years before diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, patients with this disease were three times more likely to have been hospitalized for an acute heart attack and five times more likely to have an unrecognized heart attack. They were also less likely to have had a history of chest pain, compared to those without rheumatoid arthritis. After their diagnosis, the rheumatoid arthritis patients were twice as likely to experience unrecognized heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths.

Hilal Maradit Kremers, M.D., lead study investigator and research associate in the Mayo Clinic Department of Health Sciences Research, says the study suggests three major messages for rheumatoid arthritis patients:

* The risk of heart attack is already there at the time a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis is first made.

* Heart disease can remain silent in those with rheumatoid arthritis. Regular cardiac checkups are important, as is lowering traditional cardiac risk factors, such as taking care of blood pressure and cholesterol and quitting smoking.

* Heart disease in rheumatoid arthritis patients can manifest for the first time as a cardiac sudden death.

The researchers were surprised to find that the increased cardiac events in rheumatoid arthritis patients could not be explained by an increase in traditional heart disease risk factors such as elevated cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index, diabetes, and alcohol abuse, indicates Dr. Maradit Kremers.

"What we are finding is that though traditional cardiovascular risk factors are important, they are less important for those with rheumatoid arthritis," says Dr. Maradit Kremers. "Something else is going on. It could be that rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease have a common origin. What we do know is that the cause cannot be explained by just one factor. It is multifactorial."

To date, there also is no definitive information for rheumatoid arthritis patients about steps they can take to avoid heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic researchers. Meanwhile, they indicate that it is critical that rheumatoid arthritis patients recognize their risks for heart disease and that they seek medical care for any cardiac symptoms or complaints.

Dr. Maradit Kremers explains that the silent heart attacks found in the study usually were detected when the rheumatoid arthritis patient saw a physician for some other reason and an electrocardiogram was ordered, revealing a past heart attack. "It's possible that people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis have so much pain in their joints and are receiving so many painkillers that they either don't feel the chest pain in the same way as those without rheumatoid arthritis or don't appreciate its importance," she says.

Previous research has shown rheumatoid arthritis patients have a higher risk of early death than others and that these deaths are mostly due to cardiovascular disease. The Mayo Clinic research team conducted this study to discover exactly why.

"We suspect that the systemic inflammation that characterizes rheumatoid arthritis also promotes cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular death," says Sherine Gabriel, M.D., the study's senior author and Mayo Clinic rheumatologist, epidemiologist and chair of the Department of Health Sciences Research. "And the goal of our research is to disentangle the complex relationships between these two diseases."

For this study, Mayo Clinic researchers studied a group of 603 Rochester residents diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis between Jan. 1, 1955 and Jan. 1, 1995 and compared them with 603 Rochester residents of the same ages and gender without rheumatoid arthritis. Both the patients and the comparison subjects were followed up for a median of 26 years before rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis and 15 years after diagnosis. The researchers collected detailed information about all study subjects' cardiac events and their traditional cardiovascular risk factors: diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index and smoking.

The paper detailing these findings is entitled "Increased Unrecognized Coronary Heart Disease and Sudden Deaths in Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Population-Based Cohort Study."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mayo Clinic. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients At Higher Risk For Unrecognized Heart Disease And Cardiac Sudden Death." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050204214035.htm>.
Mayo Clinic. (2005, February 9). Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients At Higher Risk For Unrecognized Heart Disease And Cardiac Sudden Death. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050204214035.htm
Mayo Clinic. "Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients At Higher Risk For Unrecognized Heart Disease And Cardiac Sudden Death." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050204214035.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Rural Sierra Leone the Red Cross Battles Ebola

In Rural Sierra Leone the Red Cross Battles Ebola

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) The Red Cross battles the Ebola virus in rural Sierra Leone and its fallout. In one treatment centre in the city of Kenema, the Red Cross also runs a kindergarten. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins