Thursday, 11 September 2014

Smokers Taking Excess of Sodium Are at Higher Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis

A new study has shows that cigarette smokers, who consume excess of sodium, are at a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

On an average, an American's daily intake of sodium is about 3,400 mg. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day  or 1,500 mg for those aged 51 years or older, or if they are black, or if the person has high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. Some people's bodies are very sensitive to sodium. This was seen in the latest study by Umea University, Sweden, researchers.

According to the Swedish researchers, there exists a strong association between high sodium intake and rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the small joints in hands and feet. The risk doubles in case of current smokers.

The study led by Bjorn Sundstrom looked at whether the recent animal and human cell study revealed the association between a high sodium intake and RA would produce similar results in a case control study that worked on data retrieved from Vasterbotten Intervention Programme (VIP).

"These findings will provide new insights into the etiopathogenic process leading to the development of RA among smokers. The finding of sodium being a risk factor for the development of RA among smokers is intriguing, as it may explain discrepancies in previous studies of diet as a risk factor for RA. That consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of developing RA, while consumption of protein, red meat, and fish with a medium fat content is associated with a higher risk, could be explained by these dietary products being associated with a higher intake of sodium. These results could have implications for analyses of diet in other conditions in which inflammation is of importance," said Sundstrom.

The researchers looked at 386 individuals who reported their dietary habits as a part of the community intervention programme with a median of 7.7 years before the onset of RA symptoms. This group was then compared to 1886 controls that were taken from the same database.

As a part of the study, the researchers worked on health-screening data that included dietary habits, physical exercise, smoking and other social factors. They also collected participants' blood samples. However, the researchers did not find any link between sodium intake and the developed RA due to which they failed to confirm the hypothesis.

Sundstrom added: "Additive interaction analyses suggested that approximately half (54%) of the increased risk from smoking in the development of RA is due to interaction with sodium intake. A large influence of sodium intake on smoking as a risk factor for RA is also supported by the fact that we could not identify any significant proportion of risk from smoking in individuals with a low sodium intake."

The finding was documented in the journal Rheumatology.



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