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Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk Declines for Every Year You Don’t Smoke

Researchers say people who smoke for a long period of time have a higher risk for most types of rheumatoid arthritis

Smoking cigarettes isn’t good for anyone — that much is clear. But smoking may be especially bad for people living with rheumatoid arthritis.

This is especially true for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who have smoked for more than 20 years.

A recent study published in Arthritis Care & Research reaffirms that smoking is as strong a risk factor as ever for seropositive RA. It also concludes that not smoking for a long period of time can delay — or even prevent — seropositive RA.

The study looked at 230,732 women, 1,528 of whom had RA. Of these, 63 percent were seropositive.

Compared to people who have never smoked, current smokers had an increased risk for most types of rheumatoid arthritis. That included seropositive RA but not seronegative RA.

The study also found that compared to the women who had quit smoking within the previous 5 years, those who had quit smoking at least 3 decades ago were 37 percent less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.

When compared to women who never smoked, current smokers were 47 percent more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, and 67 percent more likely to develop the seropositive form of rheumatoid arthritis.

The authors concluded that quitting smoking can delay RA onset in patients who tested seropositive. They added it could also prevent RA from developing at all.

This is one of the first studies that has pointed out the provable preventative impact that a behavior change, such as smoking cessation, could make in the progression or development of RA.

Read on: Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk Declines for Every Year You Don't Smoke

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