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08-05-2018 | Rheumatoid arthritis | News

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Severe obesity may accelerate disability progression in patients with RA

medwireNews: Severe obesity is associated with an increased risk for progression of disability among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), researchers report.

These findings are based on a longitudinal analysis of data from 23,323 patients included in the National Data Bank of Rheumatic Diseases (Forward study) and 1697 patients from the Veterans Affairs RA (VARA) registry study, with 58,425 and 4059 person–years of follow-up, respectively.

As reported in Arthritis Care & Research, a multivariable analysis demonstrated that participants in the Forward study who were severely obese (BMI ≥35 kg/m2) at baseline were 25% more likely to experience progressive disability – defined as an increase in Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) or Multi-Dimensional HAQ score of more than 0.2 points – over the follow-up period than overweight patients (BMI=25–30 kg/m2). Similarly, severe obesity was associated with a 33% increased risk for progressive disability in the VARA study.

A BMI decrease of more than 10% after study enrolment was also identified as an independent predictor of worsening disability, which Joshua Baker (Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA) and colleagues say is “likely because patients experience unintentional weight loss as a consequence of chronic illness and in the setting of progressive frailty.”

By Claire Barnard

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2018 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature group

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