Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) associates with excess cardiovascular risk and there is a need to assess that risk. However, individual lipid levels may be influenced by disease activity and drug use, whereas lipid ratios may be more robust. A cross-sectional cohort of 400 consecutive patients was used to establish factors that influenced individual lipid levels and lipid ratios in RA, using multiple regression models. A further longitudinal cohort of 550 patients with RA was used to confirm these findings, using generalized estimating equations. Cross-sectionally, higher C-reactive protein (CRP) levels correlated with lower levels of total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol ([HDL-C] P ≤ .015), whereas lipid ratios did not correlate with CRP. The findings were broadly replicated in the longitudinal data. In summary, the effects of inflammation on individual lipid levels may underestimate lipid-associated cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in RA, thus lipid ratios may be more appropriate for CVD risk stratification in RA.