(HealthDay News) — Polymyalgia rheumatica is associated with an increased risk of vascular events, according to research published online July 28 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Adam T. Hancock, MBChB, MPhil, of Keele University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a prospective study of 3,249 patients with polymyalgia rheumatica matched with 12,735 patients without the condition. The authors sought to assess the association between polymyalgia rheumatica and risk of vascular events, including cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and peripheral vascular events.

The researchers found that, over a median follow-up period of 7.8 years (interquartile range, 3.3–12.4 years), patients with polymyalgia rheumatica had a higher rate of vascular events than patients without the condition (36.1 vs. 12.2 per 1,000 person-years; adjusted hazard ratio, 2.6; 95% confidence interval, 2.4–2.9). Patients with polymyalgia rheumatica had higher risk of all types of vascular events. The increase in risk of vascular events associated with polymyalgia rheumatica was higher in those with early disease and in those <60 years at the time of diagnosis.

“As with other forms of inflammatory arthritis, patients with polymyalgia rheumatica should have their vascular risk factors identified and actively managed to reduce this excess risk,” the authors write.

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