from the European Congress of Rheumatology, EULAR, in Copenhagen
Medical history was made yesterday with official declaration of a new cardiovascular risk factor: rheumatoid arthritis, along with two other rheumatologic disorders, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis.
“In our view, rheumatoid arthritis [RA], ankylosing spondylitis [AS], and psoriatic arthritis [PsA] should be seen as new cardiovascular risk factors,” said Dr. Michael T. Nurmohamed, speaking on behalf of a task force of the European League Against Rheumatism.
There was more. “Very importantly, the risk is comparable to diabetes,” said Dr. Nurmohamed, a rheumatologist at the Free University Medical Center in Amsterdam.
Tallying a person’s risk for cardiovascular death by the European SCORE method, the value should be increased by 50% if the person has RA , AS, or PsA, Dr. Nurmohamed said. Framingham risk scores should be boosted the same way.
During the past decade or so, diabetes has changed from being seen as a disease of mostly failing kidneys, eyes, and limbs to a disease of damaged hearts and blood vessels. Will the same transformation now happen for RA? Until now, RA and other rheumatologic diseases weren’t generally life threatening. Now it seems they are.
—Mitchel Zoler (on Twitter @mitchelzoler)