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'Arthritis could be linked to heart disease'

'Arthritis could be linked to heart disease'
4th February 2008

New research has revealed that rheumatoid arthritis can triple the risk of dying prematurely from heart disease in people with a particular gene set.

An Arthritis Research campaign-funded study has shown that the inflammation associated with the condition can help the process which blocks the arteries in people with the immune system gene HLD-DRB1.

The study of 1,022 patients looked primarily at females who developed arthritis at approximately 54 years of age, reports Nursing in Practice.

During the year long research programme 24 per cent of the patients died, with almost a third of the deaths been attributed to cardiovascular disease.

Participants with the HLD-BRB1 gene had three times greater risk of dying from heart disease than those without.

The study also showed that the impact of the gene was further aggravated by smoking.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic auto-immune disease which affects 0.8 per cent of the UK population, according to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society.

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