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Blood Pressure Alert

Arthritis Today reported that the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology lowered the diagnostic threshold for stage 1 high blood pressure. According to the article, the lower threshold could help reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke in more people.

HSS rheumatologist Theodore R. Fields, MD, FACP, discussed how the new guidelines could affect those with arthritis.

"We already know that patients with inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and lupus, have an increased cardiovascular risk. The new guidelines make it even more important for patients with inflammatory arthritis to have their blood pressure checked regularly, because blood pressure is one of the established risk factors for cardiovascular disease," he said.

"Sedentary lifestyle and being overweight are cardiac risk factors," Dr. Fields explained.

However, Dr. Fields noted that "there is evidence that controlling [arthritis] inflammation with appropriate medication can reduce cardiac risk".

This article appeared in the March/April 2018 print issue.