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Seniors with Inflammatory Muscle Disorder have an Increased Risk of Heart Attack

Update Date: Jul 29, 2014 03:11 PM EDT

A new study found that older adults who suffer from an inflammatory muscle disorder have a greater risk of suffering from a heart attack and stroke. The researchers reported that the condition, polymyalgia rheumatica, which causes pain and stiffness, increases one's risk of developing vascular diseases that negatively impact blood vessels.

"Polymyalgia rheumatica is one of the most common inflammatory rheumatologic conditions in older adults," the study authors wrote according to Philly. "To date, evidence regarding the risk of vascular disease in patients with polymyalgia rheumatica is unclear."

For this study, the researchers examined medical data on almost 3,250 people with the disorder and more than 12,700 people without it. The participants did not have a history of vascular disease. They were followed for three to 12 years.

The researchers discovered that within six to 12 months after a diagnosis, risks of angina, heart attack, atherosclerosis and stroke peaked in male and female patients. The risks were higher for people who were relatively younger between the ages of 50 and 59. People in this age group had a fivefold increased risk of suffering from those conditions whereas patients aged 80 and older had a three times greater risk.

"This early excess risk provides insight into potential mechanisms and supports the link between inflammation and vascular disease, given that the inflammatory burden in polymyalgia rheumatica is highest in early disease," the study authors concluded.

The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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