Health Briefs

January 18, 2013

Higher blood clot risk for rheumatoid arthritis patients

 Higher blood clot risk for rheumatoid arthritis patients



The findings of a Swedish research study suggest that patients with rheumatoid arthritis have a greater risk of blood clots during the decade after the disease is diagnosed. Results of the study, published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association, are consistent with earlier studies showing rheumatoid arthritis patients were at higher risk of blood clots in the legs, a condition known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or economy class syndrome. These and other types of clots can cause strokes and heart attacks.
        The onset of rheumatoid arthritis typically occurs in adults between 25 and 55 years of age. The disease causes joint inflammation as well as painful, stiff, swollen joints with impaired functioning. 

        The study tracked 45,000 Swedish adults with rheumatoid arthritis against a control group. The group with rheumatoid arthritis experienced blood clots at nearly double the rate of those who didn’t have the disease.

        While it’s not clear that rheumatoid arthritis actually causes blood clots, researchers suggested that the inflammation resulting from rheumatoid arthritis, or its treatment, may lead to the higher blood clot risk.


Lack of sleep may be putting bone health at risk

A new US study of the relationship between sleep and bone health shows the dangers of chronic lack of sleep: Laboratory rats that were deprived of sleep suffered significant bone health impairment. 

     The results of the study were published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine. They reported that a chronic lack of sleep harmed bone formation, affected marrow generation and had a harmful impact on marrow plasticity.

     Researchers believe that, if the effects on laboratory rats are similar to humans, the lack of sleep may diminish the body’s ability to ward off bone-related diseases such as osteoporosis, reduce the body’s ability to self-repair damage to bones, and may lead to an increase in the overall rate of bone disease.
Expanding waistlines helping gout make a painful comeback

You don’t need to be obese to have a higher risk for gout, a form of arthritis resulting from a build-up of uric acid crystals that leads to joint redness and painful swelling, especially affecting the big toe as well as feet, ankles, wrists and hands. Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease are known to increase uric acid production and/or impair the body’s ability to flush uric acid from the body.

     While obese people have the highest rate of gout, a new US study shows that simply being overweight raises a person’s gout risk. In the US, the most recent statistics from 2007 through 2010 showed the incidence of gout was up nearly 50 percent compared to the average gout rate from 1968 to 1994, with obese adults over three times more likely to have gout than adults of normal weight.

     Researchers estimate that a person’s gout risk increases five percent for every 3.2kg/7 pounds of additional weight.
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