AsianScientist (May 11, 2011) – Hong Kong researchers have published a study in Arthritis & Rheumatism showing that systemic sclerosis is an independent determinant for atherosclerosis, besides typical cardiovascular risk factors such as age and hypertension.
Systemic sclerosis, or scleroderma, is a disease of the connective tissue and is typified by hardening of tissue due to increased collagen deposits, Raynaud’s phenomenon, and internal organ fibrosis.
Previous studies on scleroderma showed a link with coronary artery disease, but details and risk factors remained unclear.
The team, led by Dr. Mo Yin Mok of the Queen Mary Hospital and the University of Hong Kong, recruited 53 patients with systemic sclerosis (50 female, 3 male) and 106 healthy controls for the study.
More patients with systemic sclerosis (57 percent) were found to have moderate to severe coronary calcification compared to only 29 percent of controls. The scleroderma patients had significantly lower cholesterol levels and diastolic blood pressure compared to healthy patients, and one-third of these scleroderma patients had a low body mass index (BMI).
“Our findings show that systemic sclerosis patients have an 11-fold increased risk for developing moderate to severe coronary calcification after adjustment for normal cardiovascular risk factors,” he said. “CAD is a major global health concern, and further studies should explore modifiable disease-specific risk factors in scleroderma patients that could inhibit coronary calcification in this population.”
The article can be found at: Mok MY et al. (2011) Systemic Sclerosis is an Independent Risk Factor of Increased Coronary Artery Calcium Deposition.
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