(RxWiki News) Many people are living with more than one chronic disease. According to a recent study, many newly diagnosed arthritis patients may be living with another chronic disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis are forms of inflammatory arthritis.
This recent study showed that the quality of life and treatment outcomes of patients with inflammatory arthritis can be affected by having additional chronic diseases.
The researchers asked which chronic diseases were already present in those patients at the moment they were diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis.
These researchers found that high blood pressure was the most common condition among these patients. Cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and neurological diseases also were common.
"Notify your rheumatologist of all your health conditions."
This clinical trial to examine the prevalence of chronic conditions among patients diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis was conducted by Jennie Ursum, PhD, from the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, and colleagues.
These researchers gathered data between 2001 and 2010 using the Netherlands Information Network of General Practice, which is a large database that contains health history of about 335,000 Dutch patients.
The researchers examined data on 3,354 patients (63 percent female and 55 years old average age) who were newly diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis and 6,708 patients (63 percent female and 55 years old average age) without inflammatory arthritis.
A health condition was considered chronic if the patient had it for at least six months. The researchers identified 121 different chronic conditions among the participants.
The authors of this study reported that 70 percent of the patients had at least one chronic disease when they were diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis, compared to 59 percent of the control group.
It was quite common (50 percent) for the participants with inflammatory arthritis to have more than one chronic disease.
Furthermore, the study showed that 5 percent of the inflammatory arthritis patients had six or more chronic diseases.
The following types of disease were the most frequently found among participants and they are listed in order of prevalence: cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disease, respiratory disease, neurological disease, endocrine disease, psychological disease, blood and blood-forming organs, and digestive disorders.
The researchers found that participants diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis were more likely (1.2 to 1.7 times more likely) to have any of the above types of disease than participants from the control group. And the risk was even higher for some diseases, such as carpal tunnel (2.8 times), anemia (1.9 times) and shoulder syndrome (1.9 times).
Researchers also recounted that a total of 35 percent of the participants diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis and 30 percent of the control group had a disease related to the cardiovascular system. And 27 percent of the participants with inflammatory arthritis and 18 percent of the control group had a disease related to the musculoskeletal system.
Additionally, the authors reported that it was very common for the participants in this study to have chronic high blood pressure. They found that 22 percent of the participants diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis and 19 percent of the control group had high blood pressure.
This study accounted for the potential influence of age and sex on the risk of chronic diseases. However, only the risk for endocrine diseases was affected by age. Participants with inflammatory arthritis were 1.7 times more likely to have endocrine diseases than the control group only if they were younger than 55 years old.
"This implies that chronic co-morbidity is more a rule than the exception at onset of inflammatory arthritis and health care professionals should be aware of the presence of other chronic diseases at the moment of diagnosis,” the authors of this study wrote.
This study was published on November 14 in the Family Practice. The authors had no disclosures to make.