Do MSers have an increased risk of heart disease?

Epub: Jadidi E, Mohammadi M, Moradi T. High risk of cardiovascular diseases after diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler. 2013 Jan 30.

BACKGROUND: Studies of the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have the potential to improve our understanding of the etiology of and the heterogeneity of prognosis and outcomes.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the risk of myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, heart failure (HF), and atrial fibrillation (AF) or Flutter in MS patients with different ethnicity, both female and male.

METHODS: Using Poisson regression, we performed a nationwide study in Sweden to investigate the association between the diagnosis of MS and the risk of MI, stroke, HF, or AF/Flutter in 8281 patients who were hospitalized due to MS from 1987 through 2009, plus 76,640 matched control individuals. We performed stratified analyses by sex, age at follow-up and country of birth.

RESULTS: Among MS patients, the incidence rate ratio for MI was 1.85 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.59 to 2.15), for stroke was 1.71 (95% CI 1.46 to 2.00), for HF was 1.97 (95% CI 1.52 to 2.56) and for AF/Flutter was 0.63 (95% CI 0.46 to 0.87), as compared with individuals without MS. The increased risks were particularly prominent for women. These associations remained after stratification by sex, age and country of birth.

CONCLUSION: We recommend careful surveillance and preventive CVDs measures among MS patients, particularly among the women.

This study indicates that there may be an increased risk of heart disease and strokes among people with MS. However, the risk of atrial fibrillation was reduced. This may be due to shared risk factors for both cardiovascular disease and MS (smoking, low vitamin D levels), or possibly an effect of MS. 
It is therefore important to lower this risk in people with MS. Monitoring blood pressure, and treating this when it is high, together with having your cholesterol checked are both ways in which this can be done, not to mention stopping smoking.

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