MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jeffrey A. Sparks, M.D., M.M.Sc.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy
Department of Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: We compared women diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) during follow-up in the Nurses’ Health Study and matched women without RA during the same index time period. Women with RA had higher mortality than women without RA. In both groups, those that had severe weight loss (>30 pounds), had the highest mortality after the early RA/index period. Weight gain in the early RA period was not associated with mortality for either group.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: Our findings are significant because they show that weight gain did not offer a benefit for mortality among patients with rheumatoid arthritis . Prior studies suggested that patients with RA and obesity were at lower risk of death. We demonstrated that mortality risk was related mostly to severe weight loss, which was likely unintentional and related to serious underlying diseases. Further, we demonstrated that weight change for women with RA and comparators without RA had a similar effect on mortality.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: These findings argue that there is not an RA-specific mortality risk based on either weight loss or gain. While we found that weight loss was associated with increased mortality, this was most pronounced in the severe weight loss group, so was likely due to unintentional weight loss. Clinicians should still encourage healthy weight loss strategies to patients with rheumatoid arthritis .
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Sparks, J. A., Chang, S.-C., Nguyen, U.-S., Barbhaiya, M., Tedeschi, S. K., Lu, B., Kreps, D. J., Costenbader, K. H., Zhang, Y., Choi, H. K. and Karlson, E. W. (), Weight change in the early rheumatoid arthritis period and risk for subsequent mortality among women with RA and matched comparators. Arthritis Rheumatol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1002/art.40346
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