Tags: Arthritis | rheumatoid arthritis | heart disease | doctor | isnt telling

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Heart Disease: What Your Doctor Isn't Telling You

By    |   Wednesday, 27 Apr 2016 09:11 PM

Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful, sometimes debilitating disease, but what you may not know is that having it increases your risk of heart disease, too.

According to results published by the Arthritis Foundation
, more than half of all premature deaths in patients with rheumatoid arthritis were caused by cardiovascular disease.

The common link between RA and heart disease appears to be inflammation.

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Rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions like lupus, gout, and psoriatic arthritis are inflammatory in nature and several studies from Mayo Clinic show a clear link between inflammation and heart disease.

This underscores the importance of treating both conditions simultaneously.

Dr. Victoria Shanmugam, a rheumatologist at Georgetown University Hospital, warns that rheumatoid arthritis can have dangerous consequences for sufferers' cholesterol levels.

“Increasingly, we think that chronic inflammation due to RA causes changes in the lining of blood vessels, making it more likely that cholesterol will deposit in the vessel wall,” Shanmugam says.

There is also some evidence that, for people with RA, the cholesterol deposits are less stable, and this can lead to a higher risk of heart attack, according to Everyday Health.

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There is hope for improving heart health for everyone, including those with rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr. Jon T. Giles, assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University School of Medicine, says that rheumatoid arthritis patients need to focus on not only reducing overall inflammation but controlling traditional risk factors for developing heart disease like diabetes, smoking, and high blood pressure.

Everyday Health recommends that patients understand their overall heart disease risk factors and work with a physician to get those under control.

Mayo Clinic researcher Cynthia Crowson advises all patients to stop smoking. A heart healthy lifestyle is essential and includes a healthful diet and plenty of exercise.

The Arthritis Foundation explains that with rheumatoid arthritis, the pain can make exercise difficult, but a sedentary lifestyle will cause the joints to ache even more.

This vicious cycle can only be broken by gradually incorporating movement which will help lower the risk of heart disease.

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Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful, sometimes debilitating disease, but what you may not know is that having it increases your risk of heart disease, too. If your doctor isn't telling you about the connection between rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease, you'll want to read this information.
rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, doctor, isnt telling
Wednesday, 27 Apr 2016 09:11 PM
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