Navigation Links
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Raise Risk of Blood Vessel Plaque

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis may damage more than the joints, new research suggests.

The autoimmune disorder may also increase the risk of atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque in the blood vessels, potentially increasing the risk of stroke and heart disease, researchers say.

The good news from the study is that certain drugs already used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis appear to lessen the risk of plaque buildup.

"Cardiovascular risk is higher in people with rheumatoid arthritis, but this is not a done deal," said study lead author Dr. Jon T. Giles, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

"There is some suggestion that inflammatory risk factors [such as those from rheumatoid arthritis] really only make a difference in people who have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease [such as obesity or a sedentary lifestyle], so it's important to control your traditional cardiovascular risk factors," Giles said.

The study results were scheduled to be presented Sunday at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Atlanta.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease caused by inflammation in the lining of the joints. It can lead to significant, chronic joint pain, according to the Arthritis Foundation. The exact cause of the disease is unknown, but the immune system is believed to play a key role in its development. Instead of concentrating its fighting capabilities on foreign invaders, such as bacteria, the immune system in people with rheumatoid arthritis appears to turn against the healthy tissue that lines the area between joints, damaging or destroying it.

In the current study, researchers conducted two ultrasound exams of the carotid arteries in 158 people with rheumatoid arthritis. The first test was done at the start of the study, and the second was done an average of about three years later.

About two-thirds of the study participants were female, and their average age was 59 years at the beginning of the study.

The researchers measured the thickness of the common carotid artery and the internal carotid artery. The carotid arteries provide crucial blood flow to the brain.

In between scans, 82 percent of people had some thickening in their common carotid artery, while 70 percent had thickening in the internal carotid artery, according to the study.

People who were treated with TNF-inhibiting medications, such as infliximab (Remicade) or adalimumab (Humira), had a 37 percent lower rate of thickening in their common carotid artery compared to people not on the medication.

However, not all medications were helpful. Those taking corticosteroids, such as prednisone, had an increased risk of carotid thickening, unless they were also taking a cholesterol-lowering medication known as a statin. Statin use seemed to counter the negative effect of the steroid, according to the study.

High levels of inflammation in the body were associated with increased plaque deposits, Giles noted.

"These are slowly progressive changes. It's not as if these plaques are limiting blood flow; they're more subtle changes, but by attenuating risk factors, and potentially intervening early on, we may be able to make a difference," Giles said.

Dr. Nadera Sweiss, a rheumatologist with the University of Chicago Medical Center, said the study supports the concept of inflammation and its relationship to atherosclerosis.

"But it's not clear how we can change the outcome yet," she said.

"I think this study will push all of us to think more about modifiable risk factors when we see patients with rheumatoid arthritis," said Sweiss. "If someone is overweight, I may pay more attention and refer to a dietitian earlier on, or look at the lipids and think about using statins and counseling on how to lower LDL ["bad" cholesterol] and raise HDL ["good"] cholesterol," she added.

"It's crucial that we look at rheumatoid arthritis much the same way we look at diabetes and other diseases that can affect the heart adversely," Sweiss said.

More information

Learn more about rheumatoid arthritis from the Arthritis Foundation.

SOURCES: Jon T. Giles, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine, division of rheumatology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Nadera Sweiss, M.D., rheumatologist, University of Chicago Medical Center; Nov. 7, 2010 presentation, American College of Rheumatology annual meeting, Atlanta

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Almost three quarters of women with rheumatoid arthritis worldwide suffer pain daily
2. Stomach Bacteria Might Trigger Rheumatoid Arthritis
3. Partners grieve rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis as much as patients
4. Women who consume large amounts of tea have increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis
5. Sex lives of patients are negatively affected by rheumatoid arthritis and SLE
6. New Approach to Rheumatoid Arthritis
7. Majority of Ontarians suffering from rheumatoid arthritis not receiving needed speciality care
8. Could Drinking Help Thwart Rheumatoid Arthritis?
9. New way of classifying rheumatoid arthritis aimed at identifying the disease earlier
10. Rheumatoid arthritis signaling protein reverses Alzheimers disease in mouse model
11. Statins May Guard Against Rheumatoid Arthritis
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Raise Risk of Blood Vessel Plaque
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Speech ... who believe that with innovative technologies and under the right circumstances, these practices ... the benefit of a dual-approach to his or her therapeutic sessions, as well ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... the 1980s we have seen vast improvements in scientific research and discoveries, leading ... strides, providing increased hope and relief to those affected by HIV/AIDS. Mediaplanet’s cross-platform ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... The ... been lifted as IMAGE Information Systems launches MED-TAB™ -- the world’s first portable ... Meeting from November 29 to December 4, 2015. , MED-TAB is expected ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... For many X-rays taken at ... accurate interpretation by the radiologist. The marking utensils are so small, however, they ... found a way to alleviate this problem. , He developed the patent-pending MARK ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. ... that the organization has awarded Education and Developmental Therapies (EDT), an Applied Behavior ... award celebrates exceptional special needs providers that excel in synthesizing the areas of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... , Dec. 1, 2015 Breg, ... and services, announced today that it has been awarded ... organization. Members served by Novation will have access to ... sports bracing products and soft goods dedicated to advancing ... --> The aging U.S. population, rising prevalence of ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , Dec. 1, 2015 Building on ... Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ) today ... Pharmaceutical Companies to significantly reduce the burden of ... up 74 percent of new HIV infections among ... World AIDS Day, these new initiatives include collaborations ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... YORK , Dec. 1, 2015 Relmada Therapeutics, ... the treatment of chronic pain, announced today that the company ... will be held December 1-3 at the Luxe Sunset Boulevard ... Sergio Traversa , CEO of Relmada Therapeutics, will present on ... Eastern Time). . Please register at least ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: