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Inflammatory rheumatic disease increase the risk of heart attack and stroke
Patients with inflammatory rheumatism are subject to a significantly higher risk of heart attack and stroke, since not only their joints, but also the blood vessels are increasingly damaged in the course of the disease, according to the German Association of German Rheumatologists (BDRh). It is particularly important to start treatment early in order to minimize damage to the blood vessels and the risk of complications.
According to the experts in Germany, around 800,000 to one million people are suffering from inflammatory forms of rheumatism. As a result of the disease, her blood vessels are increasingly damaged and "the risk of those affected by hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) and consequently heart attack and stroke (...) is about double that of healthy people", the BDRh warned. Patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases would have a risk of stroke and heart attack comparable to that of people with diabetes.
Damage to the joints and blood vessels
The board member of the BDRh, Dr. According to Florian Schuch, "Rheumatism as well as arteriosclerosis are diseases that cause inflammatory processes and at the same time are maintained by such inflammatory processes themselves." Changes in the blood vessels associated with inflammatory rheumatism can be detected at an early stage. The risk of arteriosclerosis is significantly increased in "patients who are still symptom-free, but in whom rheumatoid factors or rheumatic-specific autoantibodies have been detected in the blood," reports Dr. Schuch.
Consistent therapy and healthy lifestyle
To protect against arteriosclerosis and prevent the rheumatic disease from progressing, consistent therapy and a healthy lifestyle are advised. "The better the inflammatory rheumatism is treated and the inflammation is combated, the more effectively the risk of cardiovascular diseases can be contained," emphasizes the expert. In addition to treatment with modern medication, minimizing other risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar or high blood lipid levels play a decisive role. Smoking should be avoided in any case, as this promotes inflammation and reduces the effectiveness of the medication. (fp)