NEW YORK: Long-term smoking cessation in women has been associated with a lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) compared to those who have recently given up, according to a new study.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects many joints, including those in the arms and legs.
The study showed that the risk of seropositive RA – when patients have antibodies in the blood that help identify the disease – decreased by 37% for those who stopped smoking for 30 or more years compared to those who recently quit smoking.
"Our study is one of the first to show that a change in behavior of prolonged smoking cessation may actually delay or even prevent the appearance of serum RAs, indicating that lifestyle changes can alter the risk of developing rheumatic disease, "said Jeffrey Sparks Brigham and a female US hospital.
Patients with seropositive RA tend to have a more severe disease disorder with more malformations, disabilities and inflammation in the joints.
On the other hand, there was no correlation of smoking with seronegative RA – when patients have no antibodies in their blood to help identify the disease – suggesting a different pathogenicity from serum RA, the study, published in the journal, Arthritis Care & Research.
Smoking is known to be a major risk factor for various diseases, including heart disease and cancer.
According to the World Health Organization, rheumatoid arthritis tends to hit during the most productive years of adulthood, aged between 20 and 40 years, and is more common in women.
For the study, the researchers included 230,732 women.