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Arthritis and Blood Clots

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A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association has been making strong correlations between the formation of blood clots due to rheumatoid arthritis. You might be asking yourself, “what the heck is a blood clot or rheumatoid arthritis, anyway?”

A blood clot, also known as thrombus, is the coagulation of blood platelets along the inside walls of a vein. In most cases, the clotting of blood is normal and helpful in such cases as the healing of a cut. When a clot occurs inside of a vein, that's when serious problems can occur. Blood clots can result in a stroke, aneurysm, heart attack, or death.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disorder of the body that causes inflammation in tissue, usually in the flexible joints such as the wrist, shoulder, and knee. Swelling is a direct result of the inflamed, affected areas. The exact cause is still unknown, but rheumatoid arthrisis is understood to be a auto-immune disease affecting 1% of the general population.

What often happens during cases of rheumatoid arthritis is that the swelling of the affected joint becomes so great that blood flow is reduced substantially. This limited flow of blood includes blood going to and from the swollen area. When there is reduced blood flow (in any case), clotting has been known to occur much more.

In the new study, researchers sought to better understand the extra risk and determine whether it goes up when patients are hospitalized. They tracked more than 45,000 people in Sweden with rheumatoid arthritis and similar people without the disease from 1997 to 2010. Of the nearly 38,000 patients who had the most doctor visits for the condition, 2.2 percent suffered from diagnosed blood clots. The number was half that -- 1.1 percent -- among the people without the condition.(1)

The podiatrists at Healthmark see cases of rheumatoid arthritis everday. With years of first-hand experience, they know how to treat and help conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and blood clotting. Call today for a consultation if you have arthritis, or are experiencing pain in your joints.

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