New data found that people with this condition have a tougher time recovering after a heart attack.
Heart disease is one of the most common conditions that affect people in the United States. It’s also the most lethal. Now, new data indicates that those with autoimmune diseases are more likely to die or suffer further cardiac incidents after their first heart attack.
These people were also less likely to receive common post-cardiac event procedures, likely due to the fact that they were at a higher risk for further complications.
Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the study examined whether or not people with autoimmune diseases were more likely to suffer from health complications following a heart attack.
Historically, autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, and more, are likely to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. People with these conditions are more likely to suffer from chronic inflammation and a variety of issues, while also being exposed to long-term medications, making them the perfect target for a host of conditions.
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Over 1.6 million people were analyzed for the study, with researchers obtaining this data through Medicare Provider Analysis and Review File between 2014 and 2019. All subjects were over the age of 65 and had been admitted to the hospital with a heart attack diagnosis over this period of time.
Researchers discovered that people with autoimmune diseases were younger than those who didn’t have this condition and that a large percentage of them were women. They also found that people with autoimmune diseases were more likely to die by any cause (15%), were more likely to be hospitalized for heart failure (12%), more likely to have another heart attack (8%), and more likely to have another procedure related to their arteries (6%).
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“Traditional CVD (cardiovascular) risk factors are accentuated in this population and how these risk factors manifest is also unique,” said lead study author Heba Wassif, M.D., M.P.H. “For example, cholesterol levels are affected by inflammation, therefore patients with active inflammatory disease have lower levels of cholesterol, a phenomenon known as the lipid paradox,” she said. “Physical activity, which is highly recommended to improve cardiovascular outcomes, may be limited by joint pain. Furthermore, some disease-modifying agents may increase cardiovascular risk. Knowledge of these nuances and a team-based approach may improve outcomes.”
Autoimmune diseases are some of the most mysterious conditions for people to live with. Often, doctors and experts don’t have all the answers, making treatment difficult and uncomfortable. These conditions are also incredibly risky, affecting people’s health in a variety of ways.