According to research, the risk of having a heart attack is 60% higher just a year after a patient has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Swedish researchers followed 7,469 patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis between 1995 and 2006, together with 37,024 matched controls without rheumatoid arthritis to determine the risk of ischemic heart disease, with particular reference to myocardial infarction (heart attack). Average age at diagnosis was just under 57 years and 71% of the patients were women. The median time from appearance of symptoms to diagnosis was 6.2 months. RF (rheumatoid factor) positive and RF negative patients were statistically the same. The risk of an acute heart attack rose by 60% one to four years after diagnosis and remained at that level in years 5 to 12. According to lead author Marie Holmquist, the findings emphasize the importance of monitoring a patient's heart status from the moment they are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | www.drtupac.com 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309