Presented by Joan Bathon, MD, rheumatologist at Columbia University Medical Center and Daniel Solomon, MD, MPH, rheumatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Did you know that people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have about double the risk of developing cardiovascular disease as people without RA? Clinical trials are the most powerful scientific tool we have to learn what might help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among those with RA. In this webinar, rheumatologists Joan Bathon, MD, and Dan Solomon, MD, discuss the research they are conducting in this area (the TARGET Trial aims to understand if and how medications for rheumatoid arthritis affect heart health) and provide an explanation of cardiovascular disease risk in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Fast Facts from the Webinar

1. Clinical trials help advance our knowledge of complex diseases

Clinical trials contribute important knowledge that can improve diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of disease. This medical knowledge allows healthcare professionals to better diagnose, treat, and prevent disease.By participating in clinical trials, patients provide a service to the community and are instrumental in developing new knowledge and answering important research questions. If you have RA, you can learn more about participating in the TARGET trial. Interested patients can call the TARGET Central Number at (617)525-7830 or email Rachel Broderick at rb3173@cumc.columbia.edu.

2. RA patients are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease

RA is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation in the joints and even non-joint parts of the body, such as organs and blood vessels. The added inflammation in blood vessels may explain the increased risk for heart attacks and stroke for people living with RA.

3. We don’t yet know if RA meds can benefit the heart

RA medications improve joint inflammation and prevent joint damage. However, it is not yet known whether certain RA medications also provide a benefit to heart health.

4. You need to treat RA and heart disease at the same time

People living with RA and cardiovascular disease should work with their doctors to treat both conditions simultaneously. Your doctor can work with you to take into account the possible impact and interactions of different medications.

5. Lifestyle changes can’t replace medication for RA

Nothing is as effective for the treatment of RA as the FDA approved medications currently available. While diet is important for improving overall health, diet alone cannot reverse or cure RA or cardiovascular disease. However, exercise and fitness will improve heart and joint health.


Get Involved in Arthritis Research

If you are diagnosed with arthritis or another musculoskeletal condition, we encourage you to participate in future studies by joining CreakyJoints’ patient research registry, ArthritisPower. ArthritisPower is the first-ever patient-led, patient-centered research registry for joint, bone, and inflammatory skin conditions. Learn more and sign up here.


This webinar was produced with the Autoimmune and Systemic Inflammatory Syndromes Collaborative Research Group (ASIS CRG). As part of the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, this research group collaborates with stakeholders including patients, caregivers, advocacy groups, providers, and funders early on to move research forward more quickly and more efficiently. Learn more about our work here.


CreakyJoints website material and content are intended for evidence based informational and educational purposes only. Any material or content on our website is not intended to substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a physician or qualified health provider.