0409 GMT January 23, 2019
Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis affect between 150,000 and 200,000 people in Spain, and Crohn's and colitis affect about 100,000 people, UPI reported.
Researchers from the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute, or IMIM, and IDIAP Jordi Gol conducted the six-year study of nearly one million people aged between 35 and 85 diagnosed with autoimmune diseases but who have no history of cardiovascular disease.
María Grau,a researcher in the IMIM's Cardiovascular Epidemiology research group, said, "We wanted to determine whether the risk of suffering a coronary heart disease, stroke, or overall mortality was increased in people suffering autoimmune inflammatory diseases including Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or ankylosing spondylitis, among other illnesses, and establish the incidence of each pathology."
The study, published in Heart, found that systemic disorders of connective tissue such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are linked with a greater cardiovascular and overall mortality risk, followed by inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's and ulcerative colitis.
Grau said, "It is believed that the increased risk of cardiovascular problems and mortality in rheumatoid arthritis and lupus is due to the interaction of inflammation, metabolic factors, therapy, and disease-related factors.
"Therefore developing new tools for predicting cardiovascular events, which incorporate autoimmune inflammatory disease activity biomarkers, could help to reduce the incidence of these events."