Surprising factors add to rheumatoid arthritics suffering

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As many as 2 million Americans suffer from the destructive and painful joint inflammation known as rheumatoid arthritis. Now new research is shedding light on lifestyle factors that are risk factors for the progressive, debilitating condition.

Smoking, obesity and diabetes are all linked to developing rheumatoid arthritis, according to the study appearing in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. But moderate consumption of alcohol and being in a higher social class decrease ones odds of developing the condition, according to the observational study of more than 25,000 people between the ages of 40 and 79.

ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava said I knew that obesity and osteoarthritis were linked, but not that obesity is also associated with rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease. It s one more reason to maintain a healthy weight.

ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross, whose specialty is rheumatology, added, From another point of view, it s good to see lifestyle factors which can be changed contributing to the toll of RA. If a sufferer smokes or is obese, now their doctor can advise them to take action that might help to ameliorate the condition in addition to administering rather powerful immune-mediating drugs to suppress the underlying process.