Rheumatoid arthritis ups heart disease risk

Washington, Oct. 27 (ANI): A new study has revealed that rheumatoid arthritis patients may be more likely to suffer from heart problems, early menopause.

Co-author Eric Matteson, M.D., chair of rheumatology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesotta, said that one thing that we learned in particular in this study is that the high disease burden on the joints in the first year of disease already is a very strong predictor of cardiovascular disease subsequently, and that seems to be mitigated as time goes on if the disease burden can be reduced too.

In other research, a Mayo team looked at a common virus called cytomegalovirus, a bug many people get and do not even know they have.

They found correlations between rheumatoid arthritis patients' immune response to the virus and the development of myocardial disease.

Matteson said that if it turns out that there is this relationship, then it may be that one way to spot patients who are at higher risk for heart disease would be an immune profile or biomarkers related to the cytomegalovirus and its associated immune activation signalling.

Matteson said that another study found that women with rheumatoid arthritis and early menopause -- menopause before age 45 -- also seem to be at higher risk of heart disease. About two-thirds of patients with rheumatoid arthritis are women, and researchers have long studied possible hormonal influences on development of the disease. (ANI)

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