The risk for developing cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients is 1.5 times higher compared to the general population. This risk is partly due to the contribution of systemic inflammation in increased atherogenesis, while an increased prevalence of “traditional” cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension and dyslipidemia, is also attributed to nearly 50% of the total CVD risk. Most anti-rheumatic medication partly reduces this CVD risk, primarily by reducing inflammation. The increased risk is recognized by most guidelines, which advise consequent screening and multiplying calculated risk scores by 1.5. However, screening in daily clinical practice is poorly done, and RA patients often have undiagnosed and untreated risk factors. In conclusion, even nowadays, RA patients still have an increased risk of developing CVD. Advances in anti-inflammatory treatment partly mitigate this risk, but RA patients need mandatory screening for CV risk factors to turn their CVD risk towards that of the general population.
- cardiovascular diseases
- cardiovascular risk management
- rheumatoid arthritis