Arthritis, a common ailment in elderly people is also one of the causes of sudden heart attacks in about one-fourth of them, said a new research study. The risk was same irrespective of smoking or debetes, they noted.
The researchers studied the presence of ischaemia and infarction secondary to atherosclerotic disease (coronary artery disease) in 91 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and traditional cardiovascular risk factor group but with no history or symptoms of heart disease.
“Our study suggests that one quarter of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and no symptoms of heart disease could have a heart attack without prior warning,” said Adriana Puente, cardiologist in the National Medical Centre “20 de Noviembre” ISSSTE in Mexico City, Mexico.
The researchers measured inflammatory markers, rheumatoid arthritis disease activity and risk factors in all the patients under study.
“Our study shows that one quarter of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and no symptoms of heart disease do have coronary heart disease. This means they are at increased risk of cardiovascular death,” Puente noted.
“Rheumatoid arthritis affects 1.6 percent of the general population and is the first cause of consultation in the rheumatology service. The condition nearly doubles the risk of a heart attack but most patients never knew they had heart disease and were never alerted about their cardiovascular risk,” Puente said.