ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Holistic Treatment for Candida Infection
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Cane Use May Cut Progression of Knee Osteoarthritis
More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Bones
CANCER
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
CAREGIVING
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
DIABETES
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
DIET, NUTRITION
Purple Tomato Extended Lives of Cancer-Prone Mice
Mediterranean Diet Helps Protect Aging Brain
Weight Loss Might Not Curb Knee Arthritis
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Restaurant Sushi May Have More Mercury Than Store-Bought Fare
Golf Course Insecticides Pose Little Danger to Players
Artificial Light Linked to Prostate Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
FITNESS
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries
Maximize Your Run
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Less Education May Mean Poorer Health
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Add your Article

Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart

MONDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- People newly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis face twice the risk of a heart attack, and those who do suffer a heart attack tend to have more heart-related complications, new research says.

It seems that a condition called diastolic dysfunction, which causes the lower chambers of the heart to become stiff, is the culprit. Diastolic dysfunction impairs the ability of the ventricles to fill with blood and can lead to heart failure, the researchers said.

These are the conclusions of three reports presented at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) annual scientific meeting, which runs from Oct. 24-29, in San Francisco.

"Rheumatoid arthritis patients not only have more heart attacks and heart failures, but they also have worse prognosis once they have a cardiovascular event," said Dr. Hilal Maradit Kremers, lead researcher on one of the studies and an epidemiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

For the study, Kremers' team followed 38 patients with rheumatoid arthritis who had suffered a heart attack. Then they compared these patients with patients without rheumatoid arthritis who also had a heart attack.

The researchers found that the rheumatoid arthritis patients had a 45 percent greater risk of developing heart failure after a heart attack, compared with the general population, and a 75 percent greater risk of dying.

Kremers said patients with rheumatoid arthritis should take all the usual precautions to reduce their risk of a heart attack, including proper diet, exercise, no smoking and maintaining a healthy weight. "Try to avoid to get that heart attack," she said.

For the second study, Marie Gunnarsson, a doctoral student at the Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues found that the risk of heart attack among newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis patients doubled during the first 10 years after diagnosis.

The researchers collected data on 7,954 newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis patients and compared that information with 38,913 people from the general Swedish population.

Over 10 years of follow-up, the researchers found that patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis had almost double the risk of a heart attack and dying from a heart attack. The increased risk grew over time, starting five years after diagnosis, the study found.

"This study shows that having rheumatoid arthritis confers an increased risk of having a myocardial infarction [heart attack], and that this risk increase is manifest already early in RA disease progress," Gunnarsson said in an ACR news release.

"The fact that there is no increased risk prior to rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis suggests that there is something in the rheumatoid arthritis disease itself, such as inflammatory processes that lead to this increased risk. Measures to bring down inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis might, thus, be beneficial also from a cardiovascular prevention point of view in this population," she said.

In the last report, a research team led by Dr. Kimberly Liang, an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh, found that diastolic dysfunction was more common in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, which could help explain the increased risk for heart problems in these people.

"Diastolic dysfunction occurred in 38.9 percent, compared to 28.8 percent in the non-rheumatoid arthritis group," Liang said. "We also found that patients in the rheumatoid arthritis group had higher average pulmonary arterial pressure, which is high blood pressure in the lungs and the right side of the heart. This is consistent with the impaired filling of the heart seen in diastolic dysfunction."

Wider use of echocardiography in patients with rheumatoid arthritis may reveal heart abnormalities before they are detected clinically, Liang said. An echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Dr. John Hardin, chief science officer at the Arthritis Foundation, said these new studies highlight the toll that rheumatoid arthritis can take on the cardiovascular system.

"These studies are consistent with the idea that systemic inflammation promotes cardiovascular disease," Hardin said. "Rheumatoid arthritis creates a general state of inflammation within the body."

Hardin also noted that some arthritis drugs can increase the risk of heart problems in rheumatoid arthritis patients who already have damaged hearts. "For example, Enbrel (etanercept) can, in fact, in some people, potentiate heart failure, which can be a complication of myocardial infarction," he said.

To prevent a heart attack, patients with rheumatoid arthritis need to pay particular attention to cholesterol, blood pressure and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Hardin said. "If you have rheumatoid arthritis, the things you do to protect yourself against cardiovascular disease become doubly important," he said.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that results in pain, stiffness, swelling, and limitation in the motion and function of multiple joints. The disease also can cause inflammation in other organs. An estimated 1.3 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

More information

To learn more about rheumatoid arthritis, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Hilal Maradit Kremers, M.D., associate professor of epidemiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Kimberly Liang, M.D., assistant professor, University of Pittsburgh; John Hardin, M.D., chief science officer, Arthritis Foundation, Atlanta; Oct. 25, 2008, presentations, American College of Rheumatology annual scientific meeting, San Francisco

Last Updated: Oct. 27, 2008

Copyright © 2008 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

More articles at www.eholistic.com