Heart failure

Rheumatoid arthritis and heart failure: risks, symptoms, and more.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your body’s own tissues, causing inflammation. Inflammation mainly affects your joints, but it also affects other parts of your body.

People with RA are at risk for a number of other inflammatory conditions, including heart disease, the leading cause of heart failure.

In this article, you’ll learn about the link between rheumatoid arthritis and heart failure, and how people with rheumatoid arthritis can prevent heart problems before they happen.

Inflammation can hurt your body in all kinds of ways. When inflammation is chronic (long lasting), it can contribute to various health problems and complications. The chronic inflammation was related to the development of heart diseases such as coronary artery disease and heart failure.

Overall, heart disease is leading cause of death in people with RA.

If your RA is severe or poorly controlled, your heart disease risk go up even further.

People with RA mostly suffer from inflammation in their joints, but this inflammation actually affects their whole body. According to the research, high levels of C-reactive protein – an indicator of inflammation in the blood – were related to a higher risk of heart disease in people with RA.

According to a review of research involving more than 5 million people, people with RA were almost twice as likely than the general population to develop heart failure.

Heat failure appears to be more common in women with RA. According to the research, which identified participants as “male” or “female,” women with RA were thrice more likely to develop heart failure than women without RA.

Heart failure is a serious heart condition that occurs when your heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs. Heart failure can happen suddenly, for example after your heart muscle has been damaged in a heart attack. But it often develops slowly over time.

Typically, heart failure occurs as a result of another chronic condition, such as heart disease.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation isn’t the only thing that can increase your risk of developing heart failure. Other risk factors include:

The risk of heart problems in people with RA increases over time. Managing your condition can help reduce your risk heart disease and heart failure. This means it’s important to work closely with a doctor or healthcare professional to treat your rheumatoid arthritis.

It’s also important to pay attention to your symptoms so you can get help if your rheumatoid arthritis gets worse. Symptoms of your rheumatoid arthritis possibly causing more inflammation than before included:

Cardiac symptoms

People with RA are at an increased risk of heart disease. Heart disease often develops before heart failure. If you have symptoms of heart disease, you should speak with a doctor immediately. There are treatment options available.

Symptoms to look for include:

When it comes to heart failure, there are several varieties and degrees of damage you could experience. Your symptoms may vary depending on which side of your heart is most affected — the left side versus the right side — and what other health conditions you have.

Some common symptoms of heart failure include:

To reduce your risk of heart disease and heart failure, you should work closely with a doctor, such as a rheumatologist. Treating your RA will help reduce chronic inflammation and reduce your chances to experience heart problems.

Medicines used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and reduce inflammation include:

It is important to note that some of these medications, including over-the-counter NSAIDs, can make heart failure worse in people who already have it. Be sure to consult a doctor before starting any new medication.

Overall, more research is needed on the impact of RA treatments on heart health and whether there are protective strategies that can be used early in the RA treatment process to avoid cardiovascular complications.

The other way people with RA can reduce their risk of heart problems is to treat other heart risk factors.

This may mean treating other conditions, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes, which further increase your risk of heart disease. Or it could mean making healthy lifestyle changes that reduce your overall risk and improve your heart health.

Examples include:

Treatments for heart failure aim to improve the function of your heart by helping it pump harder or beat more regularly.

Here are some examples of drugs that could be used to treat heart failure:

Other therapies such as surgery, implantation of a pacemaker or defibrillator, or cardiac rehabilitation are also potential options for people with heart failure.

People with RA have an increased risk of developing heart disease and heart failure. This happens because rheumatoid arthritis causes chronic inflammation which, over time, affects your heart’s ability to function. Treating rheumatoid arthritis and managing chronic inflammation can help reduce your risk of heart complications.