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Heart Disease and RA Patients

June 13, 2012
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Although rheumatoid arthritis sufferers are at higher risk than normal of cardiovascular disease, the assessment tools that physicians have been using often underestimate the danger. Now, however, according to a June 4th Mayo Clinic news release, researchers at the world-renowned clinic say that a special type of ultrasound called speckle-tracking echocardiography offers hope for early detection of the potentially deadly complication.
“The challenge that we’ve had in our studies, and other people have had as well, is identifying patients with rheumatoid arthritis early enough so that we can intervene, before the symptoms become clinically apparent,” says senior researcher Sherine Gabriel, M.D., a Mayo Clinic rheumatologist and epidemiologist.

In rheumatoid arthritis the immune system attacks tissues and sometimes affects other organs as well. Victims of the disease are in greater danger not only of the kind of heart disease that causes heart attacks, but the type that causes heart failure, Dr. Gabriel says.

Dr. Gabriel’s team used records from the National Institutes of Health-funded Rochester Epidemiology Project, whose resources make Olmsted County, Minn., one of the few places worldwide where researchers can examine medical data on virtually everyone in a defined geographic area to find the true frequency of particular conditions and the success of treatments. The study was funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Article source: http://www.thirdage.com/arthritis/heart-disease-and-ra-patients

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