(HealthDay News) — Among patients meeting guideline-based criteria for hypertension, those with rheumatoid arthritis are less likely to receive a diagnosis of hypertension, according to a study published in Arthritis Care & Research.

Christie M. Bartels, MD, from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, and colleagues conducted a cohort study to examine whether rheumatoid arthritis is a risk factor for not receiving a diagnosis of hypertension.

Data were obtained from adult patients with and without rheumatoid arthritis/inflammatory arthritis from an academic multispecialty practice. All participants were seen regularly in primary care and met the clinical guideline criteria for hypertension, but had not been diagnosed with or received treatment for hypertension.

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A total of 201 patients of the 14,974 with undiagnosed hypertension had rheumatoid arthritis codes. Compared with patients without rheumatoid arthritis, those with rheumatoid arthritis had equivalent primary care visits and more total visits.

The likelihood of hypertension diagnosis was 36% in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 51% in patients without rheumatoid arthritis. The risk for hypertension diagnosis was significantly lower for patients with rheumatoid arthritis in adjusted Cox models (HR=0.71), with more undiagnosed hypertension seen than with other comorbidities.

“Given heightened cardiovascular risks in RA and the importance of hypertension diagnosis as a first step toward controlling risk, rheumatologists should collaborate to improve rates of diagnosis for this modifiable cardiovascular risk factor,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Bartels CM et al. Arthritis Care Res. 2014;doi:10.1002/acr.22302.