Background Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality due to cardiovascular diseases. This association may be due to clustering of traditional cardiovascular risk factors among RA patients and/or to the chronic inflammatory disease process. There are limited data regarding the prevalence of these risk factors in Greek patients with RA.
Objectives To study the prevalence of cardiovascular co-morbidities in RA patients compared to disease controls in Greece.
Methods 108 patients who met the 1987 American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for RA and were followed in our Department were included in the study (88 females, mean age ± 1 S.D.=65±12 years). One hundred and eight age- and sex-matched patients with osteoarthritis (OA), served as disease controls. Data regarding co-morbid cardiovascular risk factors were recorded after retrospective chart review and compared between groups.
Results In this cross-sectional study, 39% of RA patients had at least 1, 13% had 2 and 6% had ≥3 co-morbid cardiovascular conditions. Among RA patients, 5% were smokers (p=0.65 vs OA patients), 7% had diabetes mellitus (p=0.28), 5% had dyslipidemia (p=0.16), 6% had coronary artery disease (p=0.07) and 18% hypertension (p=0.88). There was no statistical difference in the prevalence of these cardiovascular co-morbidities between RA and OA patients.
Conclusions Although Greek RA patients share similar cardiovascular risks with OA patients, it is of great importance that 39% of them had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. These data emphasize the need for aggressive screening and treatment of cardiovascular co-morbidities in RA patients.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared