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Heart Disease Risk for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients


arthritis heart disease riskRecent studies have discovered that the risk of contracting a heart disease is two to three time higher if you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. It is yet unclear what the connection between the two diseases is but there seem to be some certain factors that influence it. You should have regular check-ups in order to be sure you are not at risk of developing a heart disease.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that causes swelling. It generally affects the joints in the hand and feet, causing them to joint tenderness, pain and swiftness. The disease can extend beyond the joints, this being one of the reasons it is connected to hear disease.

The inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis can extend to the walls of the arteries, making the arteries narrow thus lowering the blood flow and raising its pressure. Due to the changes caused in the arteries plaques can build up in the arteries resulting in a condition called atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis presents the same risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and smoking does.

Rheumatoid arthritis can interact with the heart muscle making it stiff and lowering its ability to pump blood properly, heightening the risk of a heart failure.

Side Effects

One of the biggest downsides is that the drugs meant to treat rheumatoid arthritis can raise the risk of heart disease. one of the best examples of anti-inflammatory treatment that can affect your heart are steroid medications. Used in high doses and for a long period of time they can raise blood pressure, contribute to weight gain and raise cholesterol levels. So far, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have proven to be more useful by easing joint pain and also have negative effects on blood pressure and overall heart disease.

It is recommended that people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis to be monitored constantly. Spotting the symptoms of a heart disease could make the treatment easier.

Other Factors

You should keep an eye on your blood pressure on cholesterol levels. These two are the main risk factors of developing a heart disease. How you manage the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis can have a major impact on your heart. If you are taking a steroid treatment make sure to use them for a short period of time and in small doses.

You should pay attention to the signals of a heart problem and consult your doctor for a proper treatment.

Diet and Exercise

One of the most essential things you need to do to have a healthy heart is to take care of your body. Eat properly and make sure to maintain your weight at a healthy level. Exercising can be a bit hard due to the pain but you can always try exercising with a physical therapist.


High heart disease risk for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers