Heavy Smoking Increases The Risk Of Developing Rheumatoid Arthritis

CigarettesStudies have found that smoking, as well as being a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, and other respiratory problems, can also increase an individuals risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

One of the largest studies on the impact of smoking on rheumatoid arthritis was a British case-control study published in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases in 2001. In that study, 239 people who had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis were compared to 239 healthy control subjects who were matched by age, sex, and job status.


Rheumatoid Arthritis Raises The Risk Of Strokes & Heart Attacks

Several studies have linked rheumatoid arthritis with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as strokes and myocardial infarctions (heart attacks).

One study, published in the journal Circulation in 2003, involved 114,342 women from the Nurses Health Study who were followed for 18 years. At the end of the study, 7,786 women (7%) reported to have developed symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers found that both heart attacks and strokes were more common in women with rheumatoid arthritis compared to those without the disease.


Gene Links Rheumatoid Arthritis And Cardiovascular Disease

A recent study in the United Kingdom has isolated a gene combination that causes people with rheumatoid arthritis to be as much as three times more likely to die prematurely from cardiovascular disease.

The study which was funded by the Arthritis Research Campaign and led by Dr. Tracey M. Farragher at the University of Manchester involved over 1,000 individuals with arthritis.