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Mayo Clinic: Standard heart disease risk tools underrate danger in rheumatoid arthritis
Date:5/21/2012

ROCHESTER, Minn. Heart disease risk assessment tools commonly used by physicians often underestimate the cardiovascular disease danger faced by rheumatoid arthritis patients, a Mayo Clinic study has found. Inflammation plays a key role in putting those with rheumatoid arthritis in greater jeopardy for heart disease, yet many cardiovascular disease risk assessment methods do not factor it in, the researchers note. More work is needed to figure out what drives heart disease in rheumatoid arthritis patients, and more accurate tools to assess that risk should be developed, the authors say. The study is published online in the American Journal of Cardiology.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks tissues, inflaming joints. It can also affect other parts of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis patients have a higher risk of early death than the general population, and previous research suggests cardiovascular disease is the main reason. The Mayo study gauged the accuracy of two commonly used tools for assessing heart disease danger the Framingham and Reynolds risk scores and found they substantially underrated cardiovascular disease danger in women and men with rheumatoid arthritis, particularly in older patients and people who test positive for rheumatoid factors, proteins produced by the immune system and often associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

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Contact: Sharon Theimer
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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