Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who stop smoking experience lower rates of disease activity, in addition to improved blood pressure and lipid profiles, according to new research.
The researchers collected data on the characteristics and severity of disease, as well as data on risk factors for and incidents of cardiovascular disease (CVD), in 3311 patients with RA in 10 countries. Of the participants, 1012 were former smokers, 887 were current smokers at enrollment, and 1412 had never smoked.
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The results showed that participants who were active smokers were more likely to have moderate or high RA disease activity compared with those who had never smoked or had quit smoking previously.
The researchers further found a gradation of worsening risk factor profiles, including blood pressure rates and lipids, from nonsmokers to active smokers. Former smokers and those who had never smoked further showed significantly lower rates for CVD events than smokers over the median 3.5-year follow-up period.
The incidence rates for former smokers and never-smokers were comparable, the researchers reported.
“Smoking cessation in patients with RA was associated with lower disease activity and improved lipid profiles and was a predictor of reduced rates of CVD events,” the researchers stated.
Roelsgaard IK, Ikdahl E, Rollefstad S, et al. Smoking cessation is associated with lower disease activity and predicts cardiovascular risk reduction in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Rheumatology. 2020;59(8):1997-2004. https://doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/kez557