To evaluate the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity and mortality over the course of 10 years among the more than 160,000 postmenopausal women in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) in relation to self-reported rheumatoid arthritis (RA), taking disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) positivity, rheumatoid factor (RF) positivity, CVD risk factors, joint pain, and inflammation (white blood cell count and interleukin-6 levels).Anti-CCP and RF were measured in a sample of WHI participants with self-reported RA (n?=?9,988). RA was classified as self-reported RA plus anti-CCP positivity and/or taking DMARDs. Anti-CCP-negative women with self-reported RA and not taking DMARDs were classified as having "unverified RA."Age-adjusted rates of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, CVD, fatal CVD, and total mortality were higher in women with RA than in women with no reported RA, with multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios of 1.46 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.17-1.83) for CHD and 2.55 (95% CI 1.86-3.51) for fatal CVD. Among women with RA, anti-CCP positivity and RF positivity were not significantly associated with higher risk of any outcomes, despite slightly higher risk of death for those who were anti-CCP positive than for those who were anti-CCP negative. Joint pain severity and CVD risk factors were strongly associated with CVD risk, even in women with no reported RA. CVD incidence was increased in women with RA versus women with no reported RA at almost all risk factor levels, except for low levels of joint pain or inflammation. Among women with RA, inflammation was more strongly associated with fatal CVD and total mortality than with CHD or CVD.Among postmenopausal women, RA was associated with 1.5-2.5-fold higher CVD risk. CVD risk was strongly associated with CVD risk factors, joint pain severity, and inflammation, but not with anti-CCP positivity or RF positivity.
View details for DOI 10.1002/art.39198
View details for Web of Science ID 000360379500004
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4551571