Smoking doubles risk of women getting rheumatoid arthritis
Melbourne: Smoking just a few cigarettes a day can double the chances of a woman to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, a research has shown.
Researchers in Sweden analysed data from 34,101 women aged 54 and 89, out of which 219 suffered from rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
RA is an autoimmune disease that is 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.
Compared with never-smokers, women who smoked between one to seven cigarettes a day had a 2.31-fold higher chance of suffering from the disease, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Even 15 years after quitting smoking, the risk was nearly twice as high among former smokers.
The study also found the likelihood of suffering rheumatoid arthritis reduced over time after giving up smoking.
The findings showed that 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.
Lead researcher Daniela Di Giuseppe from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm said that stopping smoking is important for many health reasons, including the increased risk of RA for smokers. The findings are published in the online journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.