Mortality is increased in patients with rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes compared to the general population – the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Persons with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or diabetes have increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and higher death rates compared to the general population. This study used data from the population-based Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT) and the Norwegian Cause of Death registry to compare all-cause mortality rates for RA or diabetes patients to the general population. We used Cox regression with age as time variable, adjusting for sex, smoking, body mass index, hypertension, total cholesterol, creatinine and previous CVD. To achieve proportional hazards, an interaction term with an age group variable (≤75 years or >75 years) was included for diabetes, smoking and previous CVD. Median follow-up was 18.1 years. Mortality occurred for 123 (32%) of the RA patients, 1,280 (44%) of the diabetes patients, 17 (52%) of the patients with both diseases and 11,641 (18%) of the controls. Both diseases were associated with statistically significantly increased mortality rates. The hazard ratio (HR) for RA was 1.24 (95% CI: 1.03-1.44). The HR of diabetes was 1.82 (1.60-2.04) for individuals ≤75 years old and 1.49 (1.39-1.59) for individuals >75 years. Diabetes had a significantly higher HR for death than RA for participants ≤75 years, but not significantly different for participants >75 years.