The frequency of heart attack and stroke  is increased in patients with chronic inflammatory diseases affecting connective tissue, particularly those with systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren’s syndrome, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.

Inflammation plays a significant role in the development of cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke) and  immune system plays an important role in its initiation and progression.

Chronic inflammation may accelerate cardiovascular disease through the abnormal work of immune cells, special chemicals they release and clotting factors. Inflammation of the small vessels (vasculitis) can cause heart attack or stroke as well.

Traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease include:

  • hypertension
  • obesity
  • sedentary life style
  • cigarette smoking
  • diabetes
  • hypercholesterolemia.

Inflammatory arthritis, connective tissue diseases (lupus, scleroderma, Sjogren’s syndrome, myositis) and/or their treatments confer increased risk for early heart attack and stroke.

Treating arthritis and connective tissue diseases with medications and addressing the traditional risk factors of cardiovascular disease may decrease the risk of  early heart attack and stroke.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that occur together. Those conditions are:

  • increased blood pressure,
  • high blood sugar level,
  • excess body fat around the waist
  • abnormal cholesterol levels

Metabolic syndrome increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. 

It is well known that metabolic syndrome can be more frequently seen in patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.