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Rheumatoid arthritis patients at risk of GI problems

Rheumatoid arthritis patients at risk of GI problems
4th April 2012

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are at a greater risk of experiencing lower gastrointestinal (GI) problems, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic identified that ulcers, bleeding, perforations and other GI complaints are common among those with rheumatoid arthritis and could even lead to death.

Incidences of lower GI complications are higher among those who smoke, use glucocorticoid steroids, have a previous history of upper GI disease or have had abdominal surgery.

Dr Eric Matteson, co-author of the study, commented: "What we are [...] seeing for the first time in a systematic way is that patients with rheumatoid arthritis also are at risk for problems of bleeding and ulcers in the lower gut, especially the colon."

The findings indicate that more must be done to prevent and treat lower GI disease in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

What's more, incidences of upper GI complications are also on the rise, making the imperative for further research into the relationship between rheumatoid arthritis and intestinal problems even more salient.

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