May is National Arthritis Awareness Month and this is a great opportunity to note the existence of a close relationship between people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and the development of heart disease.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, RA is a chronic and often disabling disease with no known cause or cure that affects just over two million Americans. It's characterized by inflammation of the lining of the joints and, over time, can lead to joint damage, severe pain, and immobility.
An article published in U.S. News & World Report in 2007 noted that RA patients are at a greater risk of heart disease. A study done by the Mayo Clinic found that the increase in heart disease risk among RA patients may be due to the systemic inflammation brought on by the disease, which, in turn, prompts arterial plaque to form blood clots – just like high cholesterol.
Another danger faced by RA patients is that the pain medications that many take to manage their pain may cover up heart pain and other signs of heart disease. This makes it vital that RA patients should be screened using the same risk factors as heart disease patients as soon as possible following their diagnosis of RA.
Because early diagnosis is vital in managing this disease, in observance of National Arthritis Awareness Month, the team at HealthCentral has been working hard to promote arthritis awareness.
To learn more about RA you can go to MyRACentral and make sure to visit the Arthritis Awareness landing page where you can find a lot of important information about this disease. Additionally, the MYRACentral team is running a contest each week in May where users can enter a comment based on a contest question for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to CVS, and the last week of May, there will be a chance to win a $200 gift certificate. Good luck everyone!!
Published On: May 04, 2011