Prevalence of atherosclerotic risk factors and the metabolic syndrome in patients with chronic inflammatory arthritis

Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2011 Feb;63(2):195-202. doi: 10.1002/acr.20363.


Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

Methods: Consecutive patients with RA, AS, or PsA who attended our outpatient arthritis clinics between July and November 2009 were recruited for a study of atherosclerotic risk factors and the metabolic syndrome, defined according to the 2009 joint statements using the Asian criteria for central obesity.

Results: Nine hundred thirty patients were studied (699 with RA, 122 with AS, and 109 with PsA; 70% women, mean±SD age 51.1±12.7 years). The mean±SD disease duration for patients with RA, AS, and PsA was 5.3±5.4, 6.0±5.6, and 3.6±3.1 years, respectively. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was significantly higher in PsA (38%) than RA (20%) or AS (11%; P<0.001). The odds ratios (ORs) for the metabolic syndrome compared to age- and sex-matched controls were 0.98 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.78-1.23, P=0.88), 0.59 (95% CI 0.30-1.15, P=0.12), and 2.68 (95% CI 1.60-4.50, P<0.001), respectively, for RA, AS, and PsA. Patients with PsA had a significantly higher prevalence of impaired fasting glucose (30%; P<0.001), low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (33%; P<0.001), high triglycerides level (21%; P=0.008), central obesity (65%; P<0.001), and high blood pressure (56%; P=0.045). In a logistic regression model, the adjusted OR for the metabolic syndrome in PsA was 2.44 (95% CI 1.48-4.01, P<0.001) relative to RA or AS. The adjusted ORs for central obesity, impaired fasting glucose, hypertriglyceridemia, and low HDL cholesterol were also significantly higher in PsA patients.

Conclusion: Patients with PsA, but not RA or AS, have a significantly higher prevalence of the metabolic syndrome compared to the general population. Among the 3 diseases studied, PsA has the highest prevalence of the metabolic syndrome and is associated with the highest cardiovascular risk.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / complications*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications*
  • Atherosclerosis / complications
  • Atherosclerosis / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / complications*