News on Wellness

Inflammatory muscle disorder linked to increased heart disease risk

Common inflammatory disorder known as polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) increases the risk of vascular events by more than two times, a study published online July 28 in CMAJ reports.

PMR is a syndrome causing sudden pain or stiffness in the muscles of the neck, hips and shoulders. At the moment there is no known prevention for the disorder.

For the research, Christian D. Mallen, PhD, of Keele University in Staffordshire, England, and colleagues used data from the General Practice Research Database in England on all patients with polymyalgia rheumatica in the United Kingdom and Wales between January 1987 and December 31, 1999. Those with polymyalgia rheumatica were on at least two corticosteroid prescriptions.

The researchers found that patients with polymyalgia rheumatica experienced 36.1 vascular events per 1,000 person-years compared to controls, with only 12.2 such cases. The incidence was highest among people with polymyalgia rheumatica younger than 60, and among people within six months of diagnosis.

People aged 50 to 59 with polymyalgia rheumatica were found to be more than five times more likely to supper a vascular event compared to those without the condition. Patients at 80 years of age and older with polymyalgia rheumatica had three times higher risk compared to people without the condition.

“This early excess risks provides insight into potential mechanisms and supports the link between inflammation and vascular disease, given that the inflammatory burden in polymyalgia rheumatic is highest in early disease,” the study authors wrote.

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