Comorbidities in Antiphospholipid Syndrome versus Rheumatoid Arthritis

by Lauren Taylor from In The Cloud Copy

A comorbidity occurs when there is a presence of one or more additional illnesses or conditions that co-occur with the primary condition. In this case, we are examining comorbidities that occur in patients with antiphospholipid syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis and the burden that these comorbidities cause for patients.

Antiphospholipid syndrome is an autoimmune condition that occurs when the body’s immune system creates antibodies that cause your blood to clot much more easily than it should. The result of this can be dangerous blood clots throughout the body, including in the legs, kidneys, lungs, and brain. There is currently not a cure for this condition, and patients must take medications that reduce the likelihood of blood clots forming.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when your body mistakenly attacks its own body tissues, causing damage that can affect the linings of the joints. This damage causes painful swelling that can lead to bone erosion and joint deformities. This inflammation that is present with rheumatoid arthritis can also cause damage to other parts of the body as well. Like antiphospholipid syndrome, there is no cure for the disease, but it can be managed with medications.

Comorbidities Associated with Antiphospholipid Syndrome and Rheumatoid Arthritis

A recent study published in Rheumatology suggests that the rates of comorbidity burden in antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) are comparable to the rates seen in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). There were similarities in rates of comorbidity prevalence between APS and RA with the conditions of neoplasms and chronic obstructive sleep apnea. It seems that the rates of stroke, coronary artery disease, osteoporosis, depression, and hypertension were higher in patients with APS compared to those with RA.

Researchers wanted to compare the many comorbidities and their rates between patients with RA and APS. To do so, they enrolled 326 patients with a diagnosis of APS who were matched by age and sex with 652 patients with RA. The mean ages were similar between the two groups as well as mean daily corticosteroid doses, body mass indexes, and disease duration. Patients with APS were further divided into patients with primary APS (PAPS) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) with APS (SLE-APS).

When comparing odds of having a stroke, the APS group was much more likely, at 20.3% compared to 1.4% in the RA group. Patients with APS were also more likely to experience coronary artery disease (4.9% odds ratio versus 2.0%), hypertension (29.8% odds ratio versus 20.9%), depression (16.3% odds ratio versus 10.1%), and osteoporosis (20.3% odds ratio versus 14.1%). The rates of obesity, COPD, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes mellitus were comparable between patients with APS and RA.

These numbers showed researchers that greater investigation is warranted into the appropriate management of comorbidities in patients with APS, and particularly patients with lupus with APS as coronary artery disease, arterial hypertension, and osteoporosis were all much more prevalent in these patients. Ensuring proper diagnosis and management in these patients could help them to manage the various comorbidities that can go along with these debilitating conditions.

Learn more about this story here.

Follow us