, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 14-22
Date: 16 Jan 2011

Cardiovascular Risk in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Autoimmune Rheumatic Disorders: a Suggested Model of Preventive Strategy

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The pathogenesis of accelerated cardiovascular damage commonly characterizing patients affected by systemic chronic inflammatory and autoimmune rheumatic disorders is quite complex and still not fully clarified. However, it is well accepted that a strong relationship between multiple factors, including both traditional cardiovascular risk factors and disease-related inflammatory and autoimmune mechanisms, may in part explain the precocious atherosclerotic vessel damage and the increased incidence of cardiovascular events. Nevertheless, although several recent studies focused their attention on the investigation of these complex mechanisms, data regarding possible preventive strategies aimed to reduce long-term cardiovascular risk in these subjects are still lacking and not conclusive. In this setting, the early introduction of evidence-based preventive measures for the correct management of patients with systemic autoimmune disorders would be of extreme importance to reduce subclinical atherosclerosis incidence and possible major cardiovascular events.