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Risk Factors for Rheumatoid Arthritis –Smoking Education Level and Glucose Tolerance
June 18, 2007
Studies were presented at the EULAR 2007, the Annual European Congress
of Rheumatology in Barcelona, Spain which pinpointed a number of
different risk factors for a person to develop rheumatoid arthritis.
These risk factors include both environmental as well as genetic risk
factors that can contribute to rheumatoid arthritis. Smoking, the level
of education, and metabolic indicators all contribute to the risk
factors for developing the disease.
One study showed that smoking increased the risk for developing
rheumatoid arthritis with an odds ratio of 1.77; 95% confidence
interval 1.13 to 2.78. This study also showed a relationship with
education and rheumatoid risk factor. If a person had only an
elementary school education only when compared against a university
degree education had an odds ratio of 2.46 confidence interval 1.20 to
5.02. The researchers point out that education factor alone may
increase the risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Another study presented at the conference
was a link with smoking and rheumatoid arthritis, but also compared how
glucose tolerance was also a predictor of the disease. A lower glucose
level when measured after 120 minutes of an oral glucose tolerance test
showed and odds ratio of 1.19 per mmol/L; confidence interval 1.04 to
1.35. Seperately measured was the risk for smoking with the odds ration
being 1.64; confidence interval 1.08 to 2.48. The researchers suggest
that both diet and genetics of metabolism are important risk factors
that contribute to the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
“The determinants for developing RA in any population
are clearly complex and often unrelated. These studies help us to add
more pieces to the giant jigsaw of risk factors for one of the most
common autoimmune diseases, affecting approximately 1% of adults
worldwide,” said Dr Ulf Bergström from the Malmö University Hospital,
Sweden, lead investigator on both of these studies. “We hope these
findings will contribute to better understanding of future RA
prevention and treatment. Whilst the glucose tolerance findings
contrast with previous studies linking impaired tolerance to
established RA, they suggest that other mechanisms may be important
years before RA onset. Our results will pave the way for future debate
and research to pinpoint its definitive causes.”
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