Metabolic syndrome more prevalent in heart-healthy patients with RA

March 4, 2011

Among patients who do not have cardiovascular disease (CVD), the prevalence of metabolic syndrome is higher in those who have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) than in those who do not. Metabolic syndrome in RA is associated with greater disability and a history of large-joint swelling but not with RA therapy.

Among patients who do not have cardiovascular disease (CVD), the prevalence of metabolic syndrome is higher in those who have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) than in those who do not. Metabolic syndrome in RA is associated with greater disability and a history of large-joint swelling but not with RA therapy.

Crowson and coworkers conducted a community population-based study using the Rochester Epidemiology Project. Their population sample included 232 patients with RA and no CVD and 1241 persons who had no RA or CVD. Patients in both cohorts completed a CVD risk factor and medication use questionnaire, underwent a physical examination, and provided a blood sample. Medical records were reviewed.

Metabolic syndrome was present in 33% of patients who had RA compared with 25% of patients who did not-a gap that widened after adjusting for age and sex. Persons with RA had bigger waistlines, a difference that became increased after adjusting for body mass index. They also had higher blood pressure, but their lipid profiles were similar. They also had more disability and large-joint swelling.

The authors noted that recognition of metabolic syndrome in patients with RA in whom CVD has not yet developed could provide a valuable opportunity for preventive intervention.