Both cachexia and cardiovascular disease are strongly associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and linked to the chronic inflammatory process. Typically, rheumatoid cachexia occurs in individuals with normal or increased BMI (reduced muscle mass and increased fat mass). Classic cachexia (reduced muscle mass and reduced fat mass) is rare in RA but is associated with high inflammatory activity and aggressive joint destruction in patients with a poor cardiovascular prognosis. Conversely, obesity is linked to hypertension and dyslipidemia but, paradoxically, lower RA disease activity and less cardiovascular disease-related mortality. Rheumatoid cachexia might represent the 'worst of both worlds' with respect to cardiovascular outcome, but until diagnostic criteria for this condition are agreed upon, its effect on cardiovascular disease risk remains controversial.