It’s no secret that maintaining a healthy weight and body mass index are crucial for overall good health. In terms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Healthline has looked into how obesity can make RA harder to diagnose, how obesity can have an impact on RA remission, and how RA can cause low birth weight in babies.A new study indicates that being overweight or obese can also impact RA disease outcomes and medication efficacy.New research from a study published in Arthritis Care & Research shows that weight might influence the effectiveness of RA therapies.The mission of the study was to look at how many overweight or obese patients would achieve RA remission in the early years of their diagnosis.

In order to investigate the effects of weight on RA, researchers examined scientific data from the Canadian Early Arthritis Cohort.

The multicenter observational study looked at people who received an RA diagnosis from a doctor.

What the study revealed

There were 982 patients involved in the study.

Of these, 32 percent had a healthy body mass index (BMI), 35 percent were considered to be overweight, and 33 percent were labeled as obese or morbidly obese.

Over a period of three years, 36 percent of these RA patients experienced what doctors considered to be sustained remission. These were people who had a healthy BMI.

Those who were overweight were 25 percent less likely to experience remission.

Patients who were in the obese category were 47 percent less likely to have sustained remission.

Patients in all weight and BMI categories received similar or identical RA treatments and therapies.

In a statement to the press, Dr. Susan Goodman, a rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery, an assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical School, and the study’s lead researcher, stated, “Our study looks at people with recently diagnosed, early RA, who should have the best outcomes and best responses to treatment, and sees how many are either overweight or obese, and then determines if those who are overweight or obese have worse outcomes than those with healthy weight.”

Regarding the findings, Goodman continued, “These findings have important implications for clinical care since rates of overweight and obesity continue to rise. Our findings highlight the high proportion of newly diagnosed RA patients who are overweight or obese and who may have disease that is harder to treat. For people with RA who haven’t had an adequate response to treatment, this may be another factor to consider.”

However, another study regarding weight and RA published early this month in Arthritis & Rheumatology came to a different conclusion when it comes to mortality issues.

Dr. Jeffrey Sparks, MMSc, a rheumatologist associated with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, researched and evaluated the positive and negative effects of changes in weight during the early stages of RA as related to the issue of mortality risk.