A study by the Mayo Clinic, found the risk of getting rheumatoid arthritis was about 20% more for women who were obese. According to the National Institutes of Health about 1.3 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect the tissues and organs but mainly attacking the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is considered a systematic autoimmune disease (where the immune system mistakes some parts of the body as infectious or as a pathogen and attacks its own cells).
Obesity is blamed for many illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, some forms of cancer, sleep apnea, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis and now arthritis.
“Your risk is still not huge of getting rheumatoid arthritis, but it’s increased by that much more if you are overweight, so that’s not trivial when you think of how many people in this country have rheumatoid arthritis,” said Matteson, who chairs the rheumatology department at the Mayo Clinic.
The Mayo study also mentions that rheumatoid arthritis may be associated with vitamin D deficiency, chronic inflammation and smoking.
More people who have rheumatoid arthritis could also place further stress on the health system. Dr. Nadera Sweiss says she sees many patients that have arthritis who still smoke cigarettes and don’t exercise or have healthy diets. The medications needed cost the health system several thousand dollars a month.
To summarise, the risk is not huge that you will get rhematoid arthritis, but the risk is increased by 20% if you are overweight. Therefore, lowering the risk should be the preferred option.