Inflammation Elevates Risk of Cardiac Death in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

Armen Hareyan's picture
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ROCHESTER, Minn. - Mayo Clinic epidemiologists have found that the systemic inflammation characterizing rheumatoid arthritis may be to blame for the increased risk of cardiovascular death in patients with the disease.

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"We believe that inflammation is a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease among rheumatoid arthritis patients," says Hilal Maradit Kremers, M.D., lead study investigator and research associate in the Mayo Clinic Department of Health Sciences Research.

Rheumatoid arthritis patients have a significantly increased risk of dying of a heart condition if they have swelling in the large joints, rheumatoid vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels), rheumatoid lung disease or a high erythrocyte sedimentation rate (a blood test commonly known as ESR that measures level of inflammation in the body), report the investigators in the March issue of Arthritis

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