Rheumatoid arthritis has another risk

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)--the debilitating autoimmune disease that attacks the cushiony linings of your joints--also raises your odds for a heart attack by 30 to 60%. Now doctors have two new clues that help explain this medical double jeopardy.

Researchers in the Netherlands have found that RA makes "good" HDL cholesterol plummet, raising the odds of a dangerous buildup of gunky plaque in artery walls. And Mayo Clinic experts discovered evidence that RA's inflammation also hurts arteries, adding to heart disease risk. If you have RA, ask your doctor to closely monitor your HDLs.

Good news: The RA drug sulfasalazine seems to lower risk.

PHOTO (COLOR): Low HDLs are bad news

Share this with your friends