Women smokers at double risk of rheumatoid arthritis: study

Women smokers at double risk of rheumatoid arthritis: study

Smoking a few cigarettes a day can more than double a woman's risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a new study has found.

Women who smoked between one and seven cigarettes a day had a 2.31-fold higher chance of developing the disease as compared to those who never smoke, the study said.

Even after 15 years of quitting the habit, the risk was nearly twice as high among former smokers, it said.

However, the study did find the likelihood of suffering from RA reduced over time after giving up smoking, the Australian Associated Press reported.

Researchers in Sweden had analysed data from 34,101 women aged 54 and 89, of whom 219 suffered from the disease.

The study also found RA risk increased with the length of time a woman had been smoking.

Smoking for 25 years raised the risk 1.60 times compared with smoking for one year, the study noted.

"Stopping smoking is important for many health reasons, including the increased risk of RA for smokers.

"But the clearly increased risk of developing RA, even many years after giving up, is another reason to stop smoking as soon as possible, and highlights the importance of persuading women not to start at all," the report quoted Lead researcher Daniela Di Giuseppe, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, as saying.
Women who had not been smoking for 15 years had a 30 per cent lower risk of RA than women who quit only a year ago, the results showed.
The findings are published in the online journal Arthritis Research & Therapy.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease caused by the body's immune system attacking the joints and differs from osteoarthritis, which is the result of wear and tear and damage from injuries.

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