Marital Status and Smoking as Early Indicators

Published Online: Friday, November 1, 2002

Age, obesity, and low physical activity have long been associated with arthritis. Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that arthritis appears to occur more commonly in people who are separated or divorced, and in those who smoke or once smoked cigarettes.

The study, published in a recent issue of the Journal of Rheumatology, included more than 54,000 people. Researchers found that divorced people were 30% more likely than age-matched married people to have arthritis, and those who smoked every day had a 60% increased risk of developing arthritis.

With an eye toward diagnosing and treating arthritis sooner rather than later, the study suggests that health care providers ask people who smoke and those who are divorced if they?re having joint problems.

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