Asthma and COPD linked to higher rheumatoid arthritis risk
Inflamed airways are hypothesized to contribute to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) pathogenesis due to RA‐related autoantibody production, and smoking is the strongest environmental RA risk factor. However, the role of chronic airway diseases in RA development is unclear.
The researchers investigated whether asthma or COPD were associated with RA. They found that Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were each associated with increased risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis. The study has been published in Arthritis & Rheumatology.
Inflamed airways may contribute to the development of rheumatod arthritis, but the role of chronic airway diseases in the development of rheumatoid arthritis is unclear. In this study of 205,153 women, the researchers identified 15,148 women with asthma and 3,573 with COPD as well as 1,060 women who later developed rheumatoid arthritis over a median follow-up of approximately 24 years.
Asthma was associated with a 53% higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis, and COPD was associated with an 89% higher risk, after adjusting for factors including smoking. The association was particularly strong between COPD and the seropositive form of rheumatoid arthritis, which is characterized by elevated blood levels of antibodies thought to cause arthritis-related symptoms.
The researchers concluded that Asthma and COPD were each associated with increased risk for incident RA, independent of smoking status/intensity and other potential confounders. These results provide support for the hypothesis that chronic airway inflammation may be crucial in RA pathogenesis.
"These findings support the paradigm that chronic airway mucosal inflammation contributes to the development of rheumatoid arthritis," said first author Julia A. Ford, MD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital. "It is possible that inflamed airways may be a site of antibody production prior to the clinical onset of joint inflammation," added senior author Jeffrey A. Sparks, MD, MMSc. "Patients with asthma or COPD may be susceptible to rheumatoid arthritis, and clinicians should consider monitoring them for arthritis-related signs and symptoms."
For more details click on the link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.41194