A new nationwide study published online states that Rheumatoid Arthritis dramatically increases the risk of development of blood clots in the legs and in the lungs.
About 1.3 million people in the United States, roughly .04 percent of the population, are diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. The disease affects more than 580,000 people in England and Wales.
With this disease, the body begins to attack its own tissues, particularly the thin membranes that surround the body’s joints.
This condition causes inflammation and chronic pain. Experts have not been able to determine the cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis, simply narrowing the cause to hereditary genetic factors and environmental causes. How To Prevent Arthritis.
Blood clots in the legs are also known as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. The likelihood of DVT increases in patients who have a high level of chronic inflammation, common in patients suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The chronic inflammation has been determined to increase the likelihood of DVT, although Rheumatoid Arthritis is not considered the direct cause.
Rheumatoid Arthritis causes chronic inflammation, which in turn results in thickening of the blood, which increases the likelihood of blood clots and DVT.
Rheumatoid Arthritis differs from osteoarthritis, which is arthritis associated with aging. Instead, Rheumatoid Arthritis generally begins between the ages of 25 and 55, causing joint inflammation, stiffness and pain in the joints, and joint swelling. Foods That Reduce Inflammation.
Deep Vein Thrombosis is a blood clot that occurs in the legs, and these blood clots can spread to the lungs, creating what is known as a pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolisms can cause heart attacks and strokes if they are unable to be treated and cleared.
A study conducted in Sweden found strong evidence for a connection between Rheumatoid Arthritis and blood clots. 45,000 people were studied, both those having Rheumatoid Arthritis and patients who did not.
Of 38,000 people who visited the doctor most often, 2.2 percent who had Rheumatoid Arthritis developed blood clots. Those who did not have the disease developed blood clots only 1.1 percent of the time, half the number of the first group.
This study aims to prove that those with Rheumatoid Arthritis are more likely to develop blood clots based on thicker blood, but despite the increased tendency toward blood clots, those with Rheumatoid Arthritis do not need to excessively fear developing DVT.
Although the increase was significant from those who did not have the condition, the overall instance of developing DVT while having Rheumatoid Arthritis was of small percentage.
Aside from increased inflammation, which causes thickening of the blood, other causes resulting from Rheumatoid Arthritis are being examined as culprits.
Those who suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis are generally less active, as they suffer sever joint pain, making movement more difficult. This could contribute to the development of deep vein thrombosis.
Smoking tobacco could also be a contributing factor, as it is believed to increase the likelihood of blood clots. Heredity and genes may also play a role in development of blood clots.
Increased research is necessary to broaden knowledge of vascular problems. This study has improved the knowledge base and provided significant data for the field.
Another similar study was conducted in Taiwan. 23.74 million people had their healthcare tracked from 1998 to 2008 as a part of the country’s national insurance policy. Less than 30,000 people developed Rheumatoid Arthritis during this time.
Those who had developed Rheumatoid Arthritis were compared with 117,000 people of the same age and sex who did not have the disease.
Seventy-seven percent of people who developed Rheumatoid Arthritis were women, at an average diagnosis age of 52.
These diagnosed patients were more likely to have other conditions including: high cholesterol, heart failure, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
After much comparison on a variety of factors, evidence found that those with Rheumatoid Arthritis were more than three times as likely to develop a deep vein thrombosis, and two times as likely to develop a blood clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) than those without the disease.
In addition, those under the age of 50 who suffered from the disease were nearly six times as likely to develop a deep vein thrombosis blood clot than middle aged and older adults.
Neither of these studies is claiming a direct cause and effect relationship between Rheumatoid Arthritis and blood clots in the legs, deep vein thromboses.
However, these studies are demonstrating that the symptoms of the disease can cause conditions in the body that increase the likelihood of developing blood clots and DVT.