Increased cardiovascular risk factors in different rheumatic disease compared with the general population

Inger L. Meek, H. Susan J. Picavet, Harald Erwin Vonkeman, W.M. Monique Verschuren, Mart A.F.J. van de Laar

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Objectives: To study the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors among patients attending a rheumatology outpatient clinic in comparison with the general population.

Methods: Cross-sectional comparison between a rheumatic outpatient cohort of consecutive patients (n = 1233) between 36 and 75 years of age attending the Arthritis Center Twente (ACT) in the year 2009: RA (n = 546), gout (n = 129), OA (n = 168), CTD (n = 85), PMR (n = 91) and chronic localized or generalized pain syndromes (CPSs; n = 214) and a random sample from a long-lasting population-based health study in the Netherlands (n = 4523). The main outcome measures were hypertension (systolic blood pressure ≥ 140 mmHg and/or a diastolic blood pressure ≥ 90 mmHg and/or the use of antihypertensive medication), abnormal cholesterol profile (total cholesterol ≥ 6.5 mmol/l, and/or high-density lipoprotein < 0.9 mmol/l and/or use of lipid lowering medication), overweight (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2), obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) and cigarette smoking habits (self-reported current smoking).

Results: Compared with the general population, patients with rheumatic diseases have a significantly higher prevalence of hypertension (PACT = 68%, Pgeneral = 57%), being overweight (PACT = 72%, Pgeneral = 62%), obesity (PACT = 30%, Pgeneral = 17%) and cigarette smoking (PACT = 26%, Pgeneral = 21%). The worst risk profile was found in gout patients, with higher prevalence of all cardiovascular risk factors studied.

Conclusion: Lifestyle-associated potentially modifiable cardiovascular risk factors are over-represented along the whole spectrum of chronic rheumatic diseases, and not only in RA, as suggested by preceding studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-216
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • METIS-291285
  • IR-83837
  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain syndromes


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