Harvard Health Letter

Understand your heightened risk of blood clots if you have rheumatoid arthritis

If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you may also have a higher risk of developing blood clots in the limbs or lungs, according to research published in the Oct. 3, 2012, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Blood clots can travel to the brain and cause a stroke. In a study of more than 45,000 adults in Sweden, researchers found an elevated risk of clotting problems among individuals with RA, and that the risk is relatively stable for at least 10 years after the RA diagnosis. Researchers suggest that if you have RA, you take the necessary steps to avoid developing a blood clot, such as quitting smoking, becoming more physically active, and avoiding prolonged bed rest if possible.

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