Patients of Rheumatoid Arthritis have high incidence of Lower Gastrointestinal Problems

rheumatoid gastro problems
A new study by researchers from the Mayo Clinic shows that patients of rheumatoid arthritis have an increased likelihood of lower gastrointestinal problems like ulcers, bleeding and perforations compared to people who do not suffer from the condition. Mortality risk related to gastrointestinal problems is also higher in patients of rheumatoid arthritis. The findings of the study have been published in the latest online issue of the Journal of Rheumatology.
According to the researchers, smoking, treatment with steroids, pre- existing upper GI problems and abdominal surgery, further compound the risk of developing lower GI conditions in such patients. Physicians attending patients of rheumatoid arthritis need to be aware of the increased association of lower GI problems in them and take adequate measures to prevent their occurrence. The patients should be advised to stop smoking, and the physicians should try to reduce the use of corticosteroids in the treatment.
For their study, the researchers led by Eric Matteson, Chair of the Department of Rheumatology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, selected a population based cohort of residents of Olmstead County, Minnesota. They identified 813 patients suffering from RA from the cohort, between January 1980 and January 2008, on the basis of criteria set by the American College of Rheumatology. The incidence of upper and lower GI events in these patients were compared with those in 813 non RA persons from the cohort.
The incidence of upper GI problems in patients of RA was 2.9 per 100 person-year compared to 1.7 in non RA cohort. However, it declined over calendar time. The incidence of lower GI problems in patients of RA was 2.1 per 100 person-year compared to 1.9 in non RA cohort. However, the incidence remained unchanged over the years. This indicates a need for studies investigating lower GI problems in people suffering from RA. There was an increased mortality risk associated with both upper and lower GI events in patients with RA.


Monday, September 1, 2014