New insights to the mechanisms underlying atherosclerosis in rheumatoid arthritis

خلاصه: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory circumstance, which has been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Although RA management has been promoted, mortality rate due to CVD remains remarkable. Approximately, 50% of premature death cases in RA are attributable to CVD. RA patients develop atherosclerosis in a greater amount than the general population. Moreover, atherosclerotic lesions develop rapidly in RA patients and might be more susceptible to rupture. The inflammatory condition of RA, such as cytokines, abnormally activated immune cells, play a role in the initiation, perpetuation and exacerbation of atherosclerosis. RA and CVD have genetic and environmental contributing risk factors in common, implying to potential coincidence of both disorders. Accelerated atherosclerosis in RA is attributed to inflammation, which carries its role out both through modulation of traditional risk factors and direct effect on the vessel wall. Hence, anti-inflammatory medications in RA like tumor necrosis factor blockers might have a beneficial effect on preventing cardiovascular development. Increasing age, smoking, hypertension, male gender, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes are enumerated as traditional CVD risk factors. Hopefully, further understanding of the cardiovascular risk factors by perceiving the disease conditions behind CVD, will improve management of cardiovascular risks in patients with RA. Key words: atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, rheumatoid arthritis.