WebMD—December 8, 2010
Heart attack risk significantly increases one year after rheumatoid arthritis (RA) diagnosis, new research suggests.
The new study, which appears in the December issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine, is not the first to link RA and heart disease, but it does show that an increased risk of heart attack begins one year after RA diagnosis.
Is Early, Aggressive RA Treatment Aggressive Enough?
Jane Salmon, M.D., a senior scientist and Colette Kean Research Chair, Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, agrees there is something going on besides what is being treated.
“We may not be targeting the right inflammatory mediators or early aggressive treatment may not be aggressive enough,” she says. “There may still be smoldering inflammation.”
Low disease activity doesn’t mean no disease activity, she says.
“We don’t know how low is low enough to affect inflammation in the cells that line the blood vessels,” she says, adding that this inflammation may be present before RA symptoms occur, and a diagnosis is established.
“At this time, all we can say is rigorous attention to other cardiovascular risk factors is critical in RA patients,” she says.
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