Low levels of LDL-C in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients are associated with cardiovascular disease risk. LDL-C refers to low-density lipoprotein concentrations. The researchers found that RA patients with low circulating LDL-C had higher arterial calcium scores.
For the study, the researchers compiled data from four cohort studies to analyze levels of coronary arterial calcium scores in RA patients and a control group.
Rheumatoid arthritis patients generally had lower circulating LDL-C along with a higher prevalence of high blood pressure, coronary arterial calcium scores, and adjusted c-reactive proteins, which are inflammation indicators.
Low LDL-C was associated with three-times greater coronary artery calcium scores in RA patients in comparison to the controls. RA patients who smoked had ten times greater coronary artery calcium scores.
The researchers concluded that RA patients with low circulating LDL-C have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease events as a result of having higher artery calcium scores. The findings suggest that rheumatoid arthritis patients should be screened and treated more aggressively as a means of reducing the risk of a cardiovascular-related event.
Furthermore, rheumatoid arthritis patients should avoid smoking as much as possible as it increases their risk of a cardiovascular-related event even more so by increasing coronary artery calcium scores.
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