RA Patients Suffer Elevated, "Silent" Risk of Heart Disease

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a destructive and painful disease that makes the joints stiffen and swell. Failing to treat it could condemn a person to a lifetime of misery, as much of the damage of RA is irreversible. Once the joints are destroyed there is no way to bring them back. That pain also masks other unrecognized damage in the form of more silent, unrecognized heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths, according to a new Mayo Clinic study.

Moreover, RA patients not only have a higher risk of coronary heart disease than those in the general population, but they are far less likely to complain of chest pains. Even worse, this higher risk could be present even before a RA diagnosis.

By the numbers:

  • In the two years prior to their diagnosis, RA patients were three times more likely to have been hospitalized for an acute heart attack and five times more likely to have an unrecognized heart attack.
  • Most RA patients didn't have a history of chest pain.
  • After their diagnosis, RA patients were twice as likely to experience unrecognized heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths.

Even worse, these increased cardiac events could not be explained by an increase in traditional heart disease risk factors such as elevated cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index, diabetes and alcohol abuse, researchers said.

There are a number of natural remedies I've documented on my Web site that can relieve RA symptoms and protect your heart at the same time:

EurekAlert February 3, 2005

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