MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - According to the Mayo Clinic, Rheumatic diseases are often grouped under the term “arthritis” — which is used to describe over 100 diseases and conditions. These cases of inflammation can have lasting effects on one’s heart health.
Dr. Niti Aggarwal, a local Cardiologist at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, is weighing in on what you should know. “The rheumatologic disorders include things like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, both of which are more common in women. These are both inflammatory disorders that cause swelling in the hands and feet and can cause joint tenderness, pain and stiffness,” Aggarwal stated.
Dr. Aggarwal says patients with these disorders can experience narrowing of the arteries which can raise blood pressure, result in plaque build up, and ultimately lead to heart attacks.
Aggarwal added, “Patients with these disorders are twice as likely to die suddenly with heart disease. The heart may become stiffer and also may develop fibrosis reducing its ability to pump blood effectively. Patients with lupus may also have inflammation along the lining of the heart or the heart itself.”