Rheumatism affects more than just the joints: the heart and circulatory system are also at risk!The knowledge gradually sinks in, even for patients: inflammatory rheumatic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) not only damage the joints, but also the blood vessels. Patients with rheumatism thus have an increased risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
Why is this the case? Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) not only causes inflammation of the musculoskeletal system; it also affects the walls of blood vessels. In addition, RA patients have an increased incidence of hardening of the arteries, arteriosclerosis. “These patients have a 30 to 60 % higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.”
These figures are given by Professor Dr. med. Jürgen Braun, Medical Director of the Ruhr Centre for Rheumatism in Herne, Germany (Rheumazentrum Ruhrgebiet). (These figures and excerpts, and those that follow, were published by the German Society of Rheumatology- Deutsche Gesellschaft für Rheumatologie, DGRh, in the run-up to the 38th Congress of the DGRh (38. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Rheumatologie e.V.), which is currently underway in Hamburg.) Prof. Jürgen Braun adds, “The danger increases further when patients have elevated lipid levels, high blood pressure or diabetes, or are overweight.” (more…)
In the September issues of their journals Arthritis and Rheumatism and Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) present a new set of criteria for the classification of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Why do wee need “new” criteria for the classification of RA?
The 1987 ACR criteria have been criticised for their lack of sensitivity, especially in early disease. They rather describe the symptoms of fully developed late-stage RA. During the past decade, RA treatment has undergone dramatic changes (more…)
New ACR/EULAR 2010 Classification Criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
European and American rheumatologists have established new criteria for the classification of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The Revised Classification Criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis will appear in the September issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism; they can also be viewed online or as a free download at the ACR homepage (accessed 23/08/2010). (more…)
There is a Connection between Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Smoking – what are the Reasons?
Smoking might be a trigger for rheumatoid arthritis.
That smoking is unhealthy really isn’t a secret any more. However, it may be less well known that smoking is especially damaging to patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or people with a genetic predisposition towards this autoimmune disease.
Until a few years ago, a coherent explanation of how smoking triggers the break in immunotolerance and why tobacco smoke promotes the onset of autoimmune disease was still missing. A group of Swedish researchers has found one of the missing links in the pathogenic chain between tobacco smoke and rheumatoid arthritis (Makrygiannakis et al., 2008). The scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm showed that cigarette smoke is directly involved in the development of rheumatoid arthritis. (more…)
10 Facts about Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Clinical Understanding of the Disease
A few days ago I took notice of a review more than worth reading, published in Arthritis Research & Therapy. The article titled Development in the clinical understanding of rheumatoid arthritis; it outlined the current clinical understanding of RA, and it presents the “Top 10 Clinical Facts about Rheumatoid Arthritis”.
Paradigm change in the field of rheumatology: remission becomes obvious in innovative agents and novel treatment strategies.
Even though the article isn’t red-hot I’m positive that the “10 clinical facts on RA” by Josef S. Smolen
and Daniel Alehata
will be a great help in your daily work. – By the way: The article is available online free of charge and can be downloaded from the journal’s website
. So you will be able to pore over the original text.
The review is part of a special collection of articles about The Scientific Basis of Rheumatology: A Decade of Progress. That review series was published in Arthritis Research & Therapy at the occasion of the journal’s 10th anniversary last year (LinkOut to the series). – I’d strongly recommend this web site to anyone who is into rheumatology! (more…)
Blood Tests for the Diagnosis of Lupus
Welcome to our Autoimmunity Blog! The subject of this post is blood tests for the diagnosis of lupus.
Lupus facial rash in a typical wolf-like distribution.
The emphasis of this article is on the detection of autoantibodies relevant to the diagnosis of SLE. Specifically, this includes detection of ANA (antinuclear antibodies) by immunofluorescence and individual tests for various ANA, including anti-dsDNA, anti-Sm, anti-U1RNP (also anti-U1-RNP or anti-RNP), and anti-histone, as well as anti-SS-A/Ro and anti-SS-B/La.
Tests for ANA are also highly useful in differential diagnostics, especially when diseases with symptoms resembling SLE must be distinguished from lupus itself, for example fibromyalgia, infections like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, or certain malignant tumours, particularly lymphoma and leukaemia. (more…)
Lupus and APS – an indicator of increased risk of autoimmune thyroid disease?
It has been known for some time that Hashimoto thyroiditis, also known as autoimmune thyroid disease, can occur together with other autoimmune diseases. For the first time, a study has scientifically established the relationship between Hashimoto thyroiditis and antiphospholipid syndrome (APS).
Today I have taken a more thorough look at this study for you. Although the study isn’t hot off the press, I find the results to be so interesting that I would like to pass them along to you. (more…)
Are RA-specific ACPAs formed directly within inflamed joints?
Antibodies against mutated citrullinated vimentin (anti-MCV) and cyclic citrullinated peptides (anti-CCP) in the serum of RA patients act as highly specific indicators of rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, these antibodies indicate whether the disease is progressing aggressively. In contrast to the CCP antibodies, the anti-MCV antibodies seem to have pathogenic significance.
Earlier studies showed that the anti-CCP titre is higher in the synovial fluid of RA patients than in their serum. This study was intended to demonstrate that this is also true of anti-MCV antibodies and antibodies against other citrullinated proteins. (more…)