Tobacco use is involved in the development of about 20% of cases of rheumatoid arthritis, according to a recent study conducted by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm (Sweden), although it has been 20 years since it was first associated with smoking. the risk of developing this chronic disease, which causes inflammation of the joints and neighboring tissues, and has as a consequence the pain, inflammation and stiffness of these joints, which also lose mobility and become deformed.
Another harmful consequence of tobacco consumption is that it worsens the prognosis of this pathology, according to a Spanish study that has been presented at the annual congress of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), held in Chicago (United States), in which the researchers observed that smokers responded worse to drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis and also presented greater joint destruction. Several studies have shown that tobacco reduces the effectiveness of drugs such as methotrexate and biological therapies such as anti-TNF alpha.
Researchers observed that smokers responded worse to drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis and also had greater joint destruction.
The study was conducted in the Rheumatology Service of the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona and involved 158 patients who had recently manifested rheumatoid arthritis and who were followed for two years to evaluate the influence of tobacco consumption on the progress of the disease and the evolution of joint damage. The research used various clinical and analytical parameters, and used questionnaires to analyze the patients' disability. In addition, the researchers measured the deterioration of the joints by performing radiographs on patients at the beginning of the disease, and comparing them with those obtained in these same patients after two years of antirheumatic therapy.
The scientists found that smokers suffered an increase in joint destruction and that tobacco consumption was associated with this progression, so they consider that tobacco occupies a fundamental place among the environmental factors that influence the appearance or worsening of the disease .
The Dr. Virginia Ruiz-Esquide, from the Arthritis Unit of the Rheumatology Service of the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona, and coauthor of the study insists on the need to quit the smoking habit, as it is a preventable risk factor and because, once the disease is diagnosed, it can evolve worse .
Source: Spanish Society of Rheumatology (SER)