A new study conducted by researchers from Toronto Western Hospital reports that the spinal arthritis condition ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is associated with an increased risk of death from a heart attack or stroke. The population-based study links patients with AS to a 35% higher risk of dying from heart attack and a 60% increase risk of dying from stroke than those without AS. The research is published online in Annals of Internal Medicine. According to the authors, the findings underscore the importance of comprehensive screening and preventative care for this patient population, as well as focused attention on the management of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.
AS is an inflammatory type of arthritis, characterized by the presence of new bone formation that fuses bones in the spine together, causing inflexibility and stiffness. Biologics have demonstrated effectiveness in halting the progression of the disease, although there is no cure. The research team conducted a population-based study that included over 21,000 patients with AS and 86,000 controls without AS, to assess the degree of mortality risk. The level of increased risk for AS sufferers is particularly significant due to the fact that AS onset typically occurs between 20 and 40 years of age, or much younger than other forms of arthritis.
Read more about the study findings here.
The journal article may be accessed here.