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Body Mass Index Affects Risk for Rheumatic Disease

04/08/23 By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 4, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Higher body mass index (BMI) increases the risk for rheumatic disease and is a stronger risk factor for psoriatic arthropathy and gout in women, according to a study recently published in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

Torgny Karlsson, Ph.D., from Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues estimated the causal effect of BMI on the risk for developing five rheumatic diseases using linear and nonlinear Mendelian randomization. Analyses were performed using data for 361,952 participants from the U.K. Biobank cohort for rheumatoid arthritis (8,381 cases), osteoarthritis (87,430 cases), psoriatic arthropathy (933 cases), gout (13,638 cases), and inflammatory spondylitis (4,328 cases).

The researchers found that in all individuals, a one standard deviation higher BMI increased the incidence rate for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthropathy, gout, and inflammatory spondylitis. For psoriatic athropathy and gout, BMI was a stronger risk factor in women compared with men; the effect on osteoarthritis was stronger in premenopausal versus postmenopausal women. Nonlinear effects of BMI were seen for osteoarthritis and gout in men and for gout in women. In addition, the nonlinearity for gout was significantly more extreme for men versus women.

"The results of the study provide greater understanding of the risks behind rheumatic disease and show that a lower body weight can be used as an intervention to reduce the risk of suffering from rheumatic disease," lead author Weronica Ek, Ph.D., also of Uppsala University, said in a statement.

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