Incidence of Dementia and Association with Cardiovascular Disease and Risk Factors in Rheumatoid Arthritis – Analysis of a National Claims Database
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, are known risk factors for dementia. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with a high risk of cardiovascular disease as a result of underlying inflammation. However, it is unknown if RA patients at risk of CVD are similarly at higher risk of developing dementia. The objective of this study was to describe the incidence of dementia among patients with RA age 65 and older, and to compare the risk of new onset dementia among those with known cardiovascular disease; those with CVD risk factors, but no cardiovascular disease; and those without CVD or risk factors.
Investigators found that the incidence of dementia in patients with RA was as high or higher than previous reports from the general population. The presence of CVD in patients with RA increases the risk for dementia up to 2-fold when compared to RA patients without CVD or risk factors for CVD. The study suggests that in patients with RA, increasing risk for CVD may also be associated with an increased risk for dementia. The investigators wrote that further studies comparing patients with RA to those without RA are needed to clarify this association, as well as the impact of RA treatments, and primary and secondary CVD prevention.
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