High serum cholesterol levels predicted rheumatoid arthritis in women, but not in men, report Dr. Carl Turesson of the department of clinical sciences at Lund (Sweden) University and his associates.
A study of 290 patients (151 men, 139 women), who participated in the Malmö Preventive Medicine Program health survey and were subsequently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, found that the women had higher total cholesterol levels at baseline, compared with controls (odds ratio, 1.54; 95% confidence interval, 1.22-1.94). The association remained statistically significant when adjusted for smoking and a history of early menopause, Dr. Turesson and his colleagues reported.
Cholesterol did not significantly affect risk of RA in men (OR, 1.03; 95 % CI, 0.83-1.26). Triglycerides were not a risk factor in men or women, the authors wrote.
The findings “suggest hormone-related metabolic pathways in the early pathogenesis of RA and may have implications for disease prevention and CVD risk management,” the investigators said in the report.
Read the full study in Arthritis Research and Therapy.