Our own Tania Harrison from Canada presented her study on how modifiable lifestyle factors negatively impact treating to target.
Research suggests that overweight and obese people with early rheumatoid arthritis (ERA) have higher HAQ scores and are less likely to achieve remission or low disease activity. Excess body weight has been associated with increased disease severity and smoking is associated with a worse disease prognosis in these patients.
A review of a cohort of ERA patients in Calgary revealed that they had twice the rate of smoking and obesity than the general Canadian population. Although the ERA patients were generally well-managed in terms of their arthritis as evidenced by their mean DAS28 and HAQ scores at 12 months, there was a noticeable difference in those patients who smoked and had increased BMI.
As clinicians, we need to take time to understand our patients. Proper education and goal setting may have an impact on their outcomes. This points to another opportunity for motivational interviewing and behaviour therapy.