Arthritis study points to higher blood clot risk

People with rheumatoid arthritis have a higher risk of suffering potentially fatal leg and lung blood clots, research suggests.

The disease, which affects more than 580,000 people in England and Wales, causes pain and swelling in the joints.

Sufferers can find movement very painful and everyday tasks can be a challenge.

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It is already known that the condition can cause complications, including swelling of the lungs, heart and blood vessels, and carpal tunnel syndrome, where pressure and pain is felt in the wrist.

Now experts writing online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases have found that people with the disease have a three times higher risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the legs than those without.

Sufferers also have a two-fold increased risk of pulmonary embolism (PE) in the lungs.

The team, from the China Medical University in Taiwan, studied almost 30,000 patients in Taiwan with the condition, who were typically aged 52 at diagnosis.

Most (77 per cent) were women, and they were compared with a group of almost 117,000 people who did not have the condition.