Coffee Drinkers May Be at Risk for Rheumatoid Arthritis

FINLAND-Coffee drinkers seem to be at increased risk for

The association between coffee drinking and the presence of a hallmark indicator for the development of rheumatoid arthritis “rheumatoid factor” was studied in a cross-sectional survey of nearly 7,000 people and in almost 19,000 people who were monitored for about 15 years. None of the study participants had any evidence of arthritis when they were first tested.

The number of cups of coffee consumed daily was strongly associated with rheumatoid factor in the survey study. In the second larger study, people who drank four or more cups of coffee a day were twice as likely to test positive for arthritis than those who drank fewer cups. The results held true even after adjusting for other risk factors, such as age, gender, smoking, and weight.

Subjects who drank 11 or more cups a day were almost 15 times as likely to have the rheumatoid factor as non-coffee drinkers.

The authors of the study concluded that some as yet unidentified ingredient in coffee-particularly in coffee that is not filtered—may trigger the production of rheumatoid factor, which can precede the development of arthritis by years and consequently may lead to an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

(Adapted from Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 2000; Vol. 59:631 – 635.)

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