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Charity bid to boost arthritis care
July 30, 2007
A leading arthritis charity claims many patients with rheumatoid
arthritis (RA) are not fully aware of the cardiovascular risks
associated with the condition.
The Arthritis Research Campaign says people with RA are much more
likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than the general population,
but few realise this.
Now the charity is warning people about the dangers so they can change
their lifestyle by stopping smoking, losing weight, eating more
healthily, and taking drugs such as aspirin or statins to lower their
blood pressure or cholesterol.
Dr Holly John, a specialist registrar in rheumatology at Russells Hall
Hospital in Dudley, has been awarded £183,430 from the Arthritis
Research Campaign to develop new educational material which will
improve care of the elderly.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects around 400,000 people in the UK and causes
pain and stiffness in the joints. But its effect on internal organs
such as the heart and lungs is less well known.
Dr John said: "The medical profession has appreciated the risks
rheumatoid arthritis patients have of developing cardiovascular disease
for the past 10 to 15 years, but this knowledge has been slow in
filtering down to patients.
"We want knowledge to be translated into clinical
benefit for patients, and hope to show that knowing about these risks
makes a tangible clinical difference."
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