Researchers found asthma and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to be associated, regardless of allergies or pollutants, including smoking. However, smoking was found to be a harbinger for RA.
Associations may exist between asthma, allergies and rheumatoid arthritis, according to a study recently published in Arthritis & Rheumatology.Rheumatoid arthritis does not appear to be associated with passive exposure to smoke.
This case-control study included 1023 individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, 175 of whom had incident rheumatoid arthritis. Participants were treated within a single center and were identified using a combination of self-reporting and 2 diagnostic codes. Biobank questionnaires were used for self-reporting exposures. Proportions were compared using chi-square tests, with continuous variable comparison conducted using Wilcoxon rank-sum tests. The correlations between exposures and rheumatoid arthritis were calculated using adjusted logistic regression models.
There was a significant association between asthma and rheumatoid arthritis among the entire cohort (odds ratio [OR]=1.28, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04-1.58), with adjustments for urban environment, allergy status, and exposure to passive smoke, though not among those with incident rheumatoid arthritis (OR=1.17, 95% CI, 0.66-2.06). However, there was a correlation between allergic disease and rheumatoid arthritis among both the full cohort (OR=1.30, 95% CI, 1.12-1.51) and the incident cohort (OR=1.61, 95% CI, 1.11-2.33). This was especially pronounced among those with a history of food allergies (OR=1.38, 95% CI, 1.08-1.75 for the full cohort; OR=1.83, 95% CI, 0.97-3.45 for the incident cohort). Rheumatoid arthritis was not associated with exposure to secondhand smoke either at work or at home, nor was it associated with the age of beginning to smoke (OR=1.03, 95% CI, 1.00-1.06 for the full cohort; OR=1.00, 95% CI, 0.92-1.08 for the incident cohort).
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