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New RA cases rising among women

Category: General Health

Despite decades of falling rheumatoid arthritis (RA) rates, a collection of recent medical tests has shown that the joint condition is actually on the rise among women.

More effective drugs and treatments have caused new cases of the often debilitating joint condition to fall consistently in the four decades leading up to 1995. However, the research team found that women were 2.5 percent more likely to develop the condition from the mid 1990s through 2007.

Investigator Ted Mikuls speculated that environmental factors, such as smoking, oral contraceptives and vitamin D deficiency may be to blame for the increase in RA diagnoses.

"Public health measures are already under way to address many of the environmental risk factors that have been implicated in RA risk, including interventions that encourage smoking cessation and efforts focused at optimizing levels of physical activity, vitamin D intake and oral hygiene," he said.

However, Mikuls added that women should still work to take control of these risk factors on their own. He said nutritional supplements may benefit some women suffering from vitamin D deficiency.

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