Rheumatoid Arthritis Linked to Smoking AND High Salt Intake - New Report

Update: Salt Intake combined with Tobacco Use Linked to Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Here is an update to our January 2014 blog post about smoking being found linked to RA by the Surgeon General. Now, Swedish researchers have determined that salt intake is a significant risk factor for Rheumatoid Arthritis among smokers. The report, in the September 2014 issue of Rheumatolgy, presents findings showing that high salt intake doubles the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis among smokers.

U. S. Surgeon General Boris Lushniak reported this month that tobacco use is causally connected to rheumatoid arthritis. Since smoking was first officially linked to lung cancer 50 years ago in the US Surgeon General’s report of 1964, cigarette smoking among adults has declined from 42% to 18%. Among those 8% however, increased incidence of disease and death is expected due to the effects of the chemicals in tobacco smoke.

Smoking Named as a Cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Over the 50 years since the Surgeon General’s first finding of a causal link between smoking and disease, new research has provided doctors with additional insight into the effects of smoking on the body's organs and systems. In this month’s report the Surgeon General reports that smoking causes systemic inflammation and impaired immune function, compromises the equilibrium of the immune system, and should now be seen as a cause of rheumatoid arthritis. At the same time, the report finds that smoking also interferes with (some) treatments for rheumatoid arthritis.

Sadly, the incidence of disease, and increased morbidity from smoking, is expected not only among  users of tobacco products,  but also among those (often family members) who are exposed to “secondary” smoke.

Smoking Cessation May Help Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, reducing smoking or cessation may make your treatment more effective. Rheumatoid arthritis may prevent you from holding or keeping a full time job. If you are unable to work due to a physical or mental condition, Keefe Disability is here to help. Call today to speak with a claim representative and we will provide a free case evaluation to see how our legal team can help with your disability case - 800 776 2929.

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer
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