freephone 0800 862 0373
Sign in to view your quotes
Email address:
Password or PIN:

Forgotten your password? Reset it here.

Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers more likely to develop heart problems and strokes

Published on 09/03/2012

Arthritis sufferers are 40 per cent more likely to develop fatal heart problems and at 30 per cent greater risk from suffering strokes, according to a large scale study.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks the cells that line the joints making them swollen, stiff and painful. Over time this can damage the joint, cartilage and nearby bone.

Danish researchers have found that the inflammation of joints that occurs with rheumatoid arthritis may cause the heart to beat irregularly. An irregular heartbeat, called atrial fibrillation, can lead to the formation of blood clots which can trigger a stroke.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects around 580,000 people in England and Wales.

Scientists from Copenhagen University studied more than 4 million people, 18,250 of which had rheumatoid arthritis over a period of 5 years.

Their results, published on the website, showed that those with rheumatoid arthritis were 40 per cent more likely to suffer atrial fibrillation, and were at a 30 per cent higher risk of stroke than the general public.

In a group of 1,000 normal patients, 6 would be likely to suffer from atrial fibrillation in any given year, and 5.7 would be likely to have a stroke. In a group of 1,000 rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, 8 would suffer atrial fibrillation and 7.6 would be likely to have a stroke.

The researchers say that doctors need to be aware of these heightened risks amongst their patients. Annual screening for cardiovascular risk factors in patients with the condition should include screening for atrial fibrillation.

Professor Michael Ehrenstein, of Arthritis Research UK said: ‘Inflammation plays a central role in rheumatoid arthritis and in the disease process of many other related conditions, so it’s not surprising that it may also play a role in the development of atrial fibrillation.’

Scientists recently discovered a possible new method of treating rheumatoid arthritis, using a drug that ‘blindfolds’ white blood cells.

Since arthritis is considered a chronic condition, it is unlikely that it will be covered by private medical insurance. However, if a cure is found for the condition it could be covered on your policy in the future, so compare health insurance online now.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012

Categories:  Health
Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers more likely to develop heart problems and strokesArthritis sufferers are 40 per cent more likely to develop fatal heart problems and at 30 per cent greater risk from suffering strokes, acco    tweet it on twittershare with your friends on Facebookshare with your friends on MySpaceBlog it on your LinkedIn profile

No.1 health insurance broker as rated by customers

Excellent service. Explained everything in detail and really helped to find the right insurance best suited to my needs - which wasn't necessarily the most expensive. 

Review centre member

Good value and the advisor was very helpful and recommended the best policy for my grandson. I would definitely use this service again and recommend to others.

Review centre member

We were contacted in good time to make a knowledgable choice. We were given plenty of options with lots of information to enable us to make the right choice.

Review centre member

The service I received was excellent, the staff member was very efficient and knowledgable. She went out of her way to get the best policy for me.

Review centre member

Great service. I really appreciated the help provided by Active Quote to arrange health insurance. The agent was very informative and proactive. Many thanks!

Review centre member

I received excellent care and attention from the first phone call till the last. Friendly, efficient and patient.

Review centre member

Staff are very helpful, friendly and polite. They call back when they say they will and keep you up to date with progress. Pleasure to deal with.

Review centre member

Very polite and friendly, and gave detailed explanations of all aspects of the cover. Reassuring to know that if you do have a problem there is someone you can contact.

Review centre member

Friendly and efficient. Nothing was too much trouble even when i needed to make a small change, excellent service.

Review centre member

The advisor was incredibly helpful and fully explained the differences between the policies. I really liked the fact that I was put under no pressure.

Review centre member
This site is operated by Insurance Broker ActiveQuote Ltd registered in England & Wales company number 6765845.
Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Firm reference number 501109 as detailed on the Financial Services Register. Please read our Key Facts document.
For information about your rights as a consumer visit Citizens Advice.

Our insurance comparison service is free and easy for you to use, but you are responsible for making sure all your information is entered correctly, and for choosing your insurer.

This site uses cookies in order to work correctly - these are not harmful and do not contain personal information. By using this site you consent to this. I understand  Tell me more

please wait ...