The aim of the study was to compare the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) in early RA patients with age–gender-matched population controls focusing on the presence of MetS in different weight categories. The study group consisted of 91 consecutive patients with early RA and 273 age- and gender-matched controls subjects. MetS was diagnosed according to the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP-ATP III) criteria. Mean age in both groups was 52 years, and 72.5 % were female. The prevalence of MetS did not differ between the two groups (35.2 % in RA, 34.1 % in control group). Mean systolic blood pressure in the RA group was 137 mmHg, in control group 131 mmHg, P = 0.01, and diastolic blood pressure 85 versus 81 mmHg, respectively (P < 0.01). We found that 20 of 65 (30.8 %) of RA patients compared to 80 of 152 (52.6 %) of the control subjects with elevated blood pressure received antihypertensive treatment (P < 0.01). When comparing subgroups with normal BMI, the odds of having MetS (being metabolically obese) were higher among early RA subjects (OR 5.6, CI 1.3–23.8). Of the individual components of metabolic syndrome, we found increased prevalence of hypertension (OR 2.8, CI 1.3–6.0) and hyperglycemia (OR 2.9, CI 1.0–8.0) in the RA group. Recognition of abnormal metabolic status among normal-weight RA patients who have not yet developed CVD could provide a valuable opportunity for preventative intervention.
Rheumatoid arthritis Early arthritis Metabolic syndrome Metabolic obesity
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This study was funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Estonian Research Council’s health research promotion program TerVE (Grant Number 3.2.1002.11-0002) and by the Institutional Research Grant IUT 2-8.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declared that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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