High salt consumption increases risk of arthritis in smokers
They're three things you might never have guessed are connected: salt, smoking and arthritis. However, a new study shows that they are inextricably linked, with increased salt intake leading to higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis among smokers, but not among non-smokers.
Many experts, including those at the Arthritis Foundation, recommend limiting salt intake to people who have arthritis already. However, the researchers behind this study wanted to investigate whether the inflammation associated with excessive salt consumption might increase the risk of developing the condition in the first place.
They examined a data set collected from 386 people who participated in the Västerbotten Intervention Programme in Sweden. Their analysis showed that while excessive sodium intake was not linked to rheumatoid arthritis in most people, smokers weren't so lucky. Study subjects who smoked and consumed the greatest amounts of sodium were nearly twice as likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who didn't consume as much.
"Although we were unable to confirm our stated hypothesis, our results that high sodium consumption among smokers was associated with the risk of RA may provide new insights into the impact of smoking in RA development," the authors wrote in the study abstract.
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