Smoking and RA; What you need to know

Joint pain and stiffness. Tender, swollen joints. Fatigue, and even bouts of fever and weight loss. Rheumatoid Arthritis(RA) is no walk in the park. This chronic inflammatory disorder is actually an autoimmune disease that can do a number on your body. Aside from your joints, you may notice changes in your skin, lungs, and even eyes. The stress of dealing with this disorder may cause you to want to reach for a cigarette to help you to relax and take your mind off the pain, but what does that one bad habit mean for your RA?

A study published in Arthritis Research and Therapy found that smoking is linked to an elevated risk of RA. Researchers believe that smoking has a way of shaking up deficient immune function if you already have certain genetic factors that make you more prone to developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Smoking is considered to be one of the most important environmental risk factors when it comes to RA. There are both genetic and environmental risk factors that come into play when determining whether or not a person is going get RA. As for smoking? It’s 100% preventable!

The effectiveness of some drugs used in RA treatment can be hindered due to smoking as well. A higher dose of medication may be needed for a smoker with RA than a non-smoker to effectively treat symptoms. Smoking can also make it harder for you to control flare-ups and to achieve or stay in remission.

A University of Manchester study reported that the risk of death was almost two times higher in RA patients who smoked compared to those who never smoked. So, what happens if you quit smoking? The good news is that if you do quit smoking, your body should respond to treatment like normal. You will also be helping your overall health by lowering your risk of developing lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory disease, just to name a few.

If you or someone you love is struggling to manage RA symptoms, you may be eligible to participate in a research study at New England Research Associates. Qualified participants are closely evaluated by board-certified physicians and other medical professionals, and may even gain access to new treatments before they are available to the general public. Compensation is also available for time and travel. To learn more, click HERE.