A high BMI could reduce men's risk of rheumatoid arthritis, but not women's

A high body mass index (BMI) could reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in men, according to a study published today in Rheumatology.

Scientists in Sweden analysed data from 383 patients, taken from two population based health surveys with a total of 50,705 participants, to discover that there is a strong association between a high BMI in and a lower risk of developing (RA). However, this association was not found in women. The results were based on the Malmo Diet Cancer Study (MCDS) and Malmo Preventative Medicine Program (MPMP) .

After the results had been adjusted for smoking, as that has been found to be negatively associated with obesity in men, men with a BMI over 25kg/m2 were estimated to be 63% less likely to develop RA in the MDCS, and 40 % less likely in the MPMP. When looking into why a high BMI would reduce the risk of men developing RA in the future, the scientists suggested that a high BMI more often reflects increased abdominal obesity or visceral fat in men compared with women, which could be protective against the development of RA. They have previously described a connection between high BMI and hormones, where metabolic pathways related to the adipose tissue and hormone-related factors could have a protective effect against RA.

Carl Turesson, lead author of the paper, commented that: "to our knowledge, this is the first nested case-control study to investigate this issue in men." He went on to comment on the effect for overweight and obese participants: "the effect of obesity on the risk of RA did not appear to be substantially different from that of overweight. However, a differential effect of very high BMI cannot be ruled out."

More information: 'A high body mass index is associated with reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis in men, but not in women' Carl Turesson, Ulf Bergstrom, Mitra Pikwer, Jan-Ake Nilsson, and Lennart T.H. Jacobsson, Rheumatology, DOI: 10.1093/rheumatology/kev313

Journal information: Rheumatology

Citation: A high BMI could reduce men's risk of rheumatoid arthritis, but not women's (2015, September 8) retrieved 7 June 2023 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-09-high-bmi-men-rheumatoid-arthritis.html
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