The past 3 years have seen a remarkable growth in the interest of cardiovascular disease in rheumatoid arthritis. There have been studies published documenting an increased incidence and prevalence of cardiovascular conditions in patients with rheumatoid arthritis compared with individuals without rheumatoid arthritis. There has also been interest in the occurrence of cardiovascular risk factors in rheumatoid arthritis and in the role of antirheumatic therapy, including cyclooxygenase-2 selective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, methotrexate, corticosteroids, and tumor necrosis factor inhibitors. A number of studies using noninvasive means to detect atherosclerosis have shown that patients with rheumatoid arthritis may be prone to atherosclerosis. This information should be important to physicians who provide care to patients with rheumatoid arthritis, given the difficulty of recognizing cardiovascular signs and symptoms among patients with the disease.
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