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Examining the Obesity Paradox in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatology Advisor writes on the complex role that obesity plays in rheumatoid arthritis patients. 

"Having a high BMI [body mass index] may increase the likelihood of developing RA in those who are genetically susceptible and decrease the likelihood of achieving sustained remission for those with active RA," explained Susan M. Goodman, MD, rheumatologist at HSS.

Yet, patients with obesity have a lower risk for mortality from RA than those of normal weight. The 'obesity paradox' refers to the finding that RA patients with a BMI > 30 kg/m2 live longer than patients with a BMI < 30 kg/m2.

This paradox hinders the implementation of significant weight interventions, yet healthy guidance for weight loss is still considered important when managing RA.

"While we don't really understand the impact of adipokines or cytokines derived from fat on disease activity, there is a clear effect on damage mediated through impact and weight that can accelerate joint damage. The effect of high BMI on damage to weight-bearing joints is additive with RA," added Dr. Goodman.

Read the full article at RheumatologyAdvisor.com.