AS is an inflammatory condition and research is ongoing into what effect the inflammation can have on the heart.
Currently, the evidence for increased cardiovascular (CV) risk is stronger for rheumatoid arthritis than it is for AS.
The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) has issued guidelines for CV risk management in patients with RA, AS and psoriatic arthritis. They have issued these guidelines because they believe there is a relationship between disease activity and CV disease which highlights the important role of tight disease control.
EULAR guidelines say AS may be a condition in which cardiovascular risk is increased.
In order to lower cardiovascular risk:
- Your AS should be well controlled.
- Your cardiovascular risk should be evaluated by your GP, if necessary, medications such as cholesterol lowering drugs and blood pressure lowering drugs should be used.
In order to lower your risk of having a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke you should:
- Keep your weight at a healthy level
- Have a balanced, healthy diet
- Keep physically active
- Do not smoke
- Ensure your alcohol intake is moderate
- Have a regular check up with your GP to monitor your risk