Smoking appears to increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) among post-menopausal women (April 15, 2002, American Journal of Medicine). Researchers, headed by Kenneth G. Saag, MD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, collected data on 31,336 women aged 55 to 69 who participated in the Iowa Women?s Health Study. None of the women had a history of RA in the baseline year of 1986. During 334,463 person-years of follow-up, 158 women developed RA. Women who were current smokers or who had quit fewer than 10 years before 1986 had an increased risk of RA, whereas those who had never smoked or who had stopped 10 years or more before 1986 were not at increased risk of RA.
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