Rheumatoid arthritis can increase the risk of heart disease, but not as severely as first thought.
A study published in Arthritis Care & Researchhas suggested that although rheumatoid arthritis is linked with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, it does not increase the risk as significantly as does diabetes.
Researchers drew on both public and private health plan claims, made between 2006 and 2010, of 920,772 participants to assess whether rheumatoid arthritis should be considered equivalent in risk to diabetes when considering management of hyperlipidemia. Patients were at least 40 years old and did not have prevalent cardiovascular disease. The researchers grouped them into separate cohorts according to whether they had diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, both, or neither.
The rate of hospitalization due to stroke, myocardial infarction, and coronary revascularization was determined from inpatient discharge diagnosis codes and procedure codes. Incidence rates (IR) were compiled of the outcomes for all 4 cohorts using the 2010 US census distribution for sex and age. These IRs were measured in units per 1000 person-years.
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