People in the United Kingdom (U.K.) with multiple sclerosis (MS) have an increased risk of vascular disease affecting the heart and brain that is not accounted for by traditional disease risk factors, a large, population-based study reports.
The study, “Evaluating the Risk of Macrovascular Events and Mortality Among People With Multiple Sclerosis in England,” was published in the journal JAMA Neurology.
Compared with the general population, people with MS can have higher blood pressure and increased levels of fat (lipids) in their blood, are overweight, and engage in less physical activity.
As such, people with MS may be at risk for cardiovascular disease leading to heart attack and stroke.
However, most studies investigating this link are not based on the general population, while others did not account for lifestyle factors or were conducted before recent advances in available treatments for MS and cardiovascular disease.
To better understand the current cardiovascular disease risks in MS patients, a team led by researchers at the Imperial College of London and the University College London in the U.K. analyzed the medical records of 12,251 people with MS, diagnosed between January 1987 and September 2018, who were representative of the English population.
The team looked for outcomes including reduced blood flow to the heart (acute coronary syndrome), vascular disease of the brain (cerebrovascular), and disease of any large blood vessels like the arteries of the heart and the brain (macrovascular). Information on death by any cause (all-cause mortality) and cardiovascular disease-specific mortality also was collected.
Demographic information covering age, sex, ethnicity, smoking status, diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and clinical depression, or the use of cardiovascular disease-related medications also was gathered. As a comparison, clinical data were obtained from the medical records of 72,572 people without MS or related conditions who were similar in age and sex to the MS group analyzed.
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