Exposure to cigarette smoke during the early years of life can be the cause behind increased risk of arthritis in later life. This has been shown in a recently conducted study. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder affecting many joints, including those in the hands and feet. The discovery has shown that in smokers who had passive exposure to smoke during childhood, the hazard ratio was 1.73 as compared to non smokers who weren’t exposed to smoke during early years.
"Our study highlights the importance of avoiding any tobacco environment in children, especially in those with a family history of rheumatoid arthritis," said lead author Raphaele Seror, professor at the University Hospitals of South Paris, France.
The results of the study was presented at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) 2017.Further, in a separate analysis smoking was also associated with increased progression of structural damage to the spine in patients with ankylosing spondylitis -- a painful, progressive and disabling form of arthritis caused by chronic inflammation affecting the spine and large joints.
Smoking led to the formation of new bony growths (known as syndesmophytes), the researchers said.
"Smoking constitutes a major risk factor not only for disease susceptibility but also disease severity in patients with AS," said Servet Akar, professor from Izmir Katip Celebi University, Turkey.
"Rheumatologists should work hard to encourage their AS patients to quit smoking as this could have a major impact on future quality of life," he added.
(With IANS Inputs)