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Does Your Daily Fag Break Double Your Risk of Arthritis?

Even if you only smoke a few cigarettes a day, you’re doubling your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. This is according to a new study, carried out by Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, which discovered that women who smoked between one and seven cigarettes daily were more than twice as likely to develop the disease as those who had never smoked.

When your wellbeing is affected by rheumatoid arthritis (RA) your joints become painful and swollen. The autoimmune condition affects roughly 600,000 Britons and, though it is most common in women aged between 40 and 70, it can begin at any age. Your symptoms can subside for many months or even years before a flare-up, making movement difficult and very painful for you. Currently, there is no known cure for RA and all you can generally do to treat it is to take anti-inflammatory painkillers or steroids during one of these flare-ups.

Of the 34,101 women aged between 54 and 89 who were analysed for the study, 219 suffered with RA. The data revealed that the risk of RA increased with the length of time the woman had been smoking, and smoking for 25 years makes you 1.6 times more likely to develop the disease than women who only smoke for one year. However, even if you quit, you’ve already caused irrevocable damage to your joint wellness, as it was also discovered that women remained twice as likely to develop RA even 15 years after giving up smoking.

A previous study from the Karolinska Institute has shown that drinking alcohol, on the other hand, can reduce your chance of developing arthritis. If you drink five or more glasses of wine or beer a week, you can slash your risk of developing RA in half. The researchers noted that people who consumed more than five units a week were up to 50% less likely to develop the disease, especially if they were smokers who had a genetic risk of developing the arthritis. The researchers concluded that more work is needed to explain the link, but they surmised that alcohol works to suppress your immune system and reduce the inflammatory process behind RA.

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This entry was posted on June 21, 2013 by and tagged , , .
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