A three-year study involving more than 22 million people suggests there’s a strong connection between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and heart disease and heart attack risk. The most common types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. This study was conducted by researchers at the University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, and results were presented at the 2018 American College of Cardiology meeting.
The researchers used a large electronic medical records database with information from 26 healthcare systems throughout the United States (IBM’s Explorys) to obtain information for their study. They chose myocardial infarction, or heart attack, as an indicator and determined that heart attacks are nearly twice as common in people with IBD as in people who do not have inflammatory bowel disease – 5.9 percent compared to 3.5 percent.
They also evaluated traditional risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, and smoking, and found these factors were more prevalent in people with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. On average, people with IBD are about 23 percent more likely to have a heart attack than those who don’t have the condition.