The purposes of this study were to compare the perceived and actual 10-year risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and to evaluate the influence of cardiovascular risk factors on perceived CVD risk in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in Korea. Additionally, the attainment of CVD prevention guideline goals by 3 levels of CVD risk (low, moderate, and high) was presented.
For this cross-sectional study, data were collected from 208 patients with RA. Actual CVD risk was estimated with the Systematic Coronary Risk Evaluation (SCORE), and goal attainment was assessed based on the European League Against Rheumatism guidelines. Actual CVD risk and perceived risk were compared with cross-tabulation. Chi-square tests were used to evaluate differences in cardiovascular risk factors by perceived risk. Levels of goal attainment were presented in percentages.
Among patients with RA, 13.9% were identified as being at high risk for CVD, whereas 39.9% were at moderate risk, and 46.2% were at low risk. The majority of those at high risk (96.6%) underestimated their risk for CVD. The use of antihypertensive or lipid-lowering medications and having a parental history of CVD significantly increased the likelihood that subjects with RA would perceive themselves as being at high risk for CVD. Diabetes, smoking, physical inactivity, and obesity did not affect perceived risk. A substantial proportion of the subjects with RA did not meet the prevention guideline goals.
Patients with RA who are at increased risk of developing CVD must be managed as soon as possible to attain the guideline goals and, accordingly, lower their risk of future CVD.