Healthy weight for arthritis

17 January 2018

A new study published in Arthritis Care and Research Journal, has identified a clear link between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and being overweight. The research team from New York City Hospital for Special Surgery and the Weill Cornell Medical School looked at 982 RA patients exhibiting early signs of the condition.

It was interesting to see that within a three year period, 36 per cent had gone into remission. Looking at the participants’ weight, those who were overweight were 25 per cent less likely to experience sustained remission, and those who were obese were 47 percent less likely to do so, despite receiving similar treatments.

The study lead Dr Susan Goodman said: “These findings have important implications for clinical care since rates of overweight and obesity continue to rise. Our findings highlight the high proportion of newly diagnosed RA patients who are overweight or obese and who may have disease that is harder to treat. For people with RA who haven’t had an adequate response to treatment, this may be another factor to consider.”

Arthritis Action’s Medical Advisor Dr Wendy Holden said: “We welcome this new study because it adds to the growing body of evidence that being overweight or obese can seriously affect how well people with RA respond to treatment. Many medicines are very effective but this study shows that being overweight or obese can seriously reduce the effectiveness of treatments. The implications is that getting to a healthy weight is even more important for people with RA, so that joint damage and disability can be prevented.”

Article was featured in the Daily Express (print) on 16th December 2017.