GPs should discuss the impact that being overweight has on treatment outcomes with rheumatoid arthritis patients, a new study has recommended.
Rheumatoid arthritis patients with healthy BMIs are more likely to achieve sustained disease remission than their overweight counterparts, meaning that weight may play a key role in the response to treatment, the study found.
Researchers from Canada looked at data for just over 980 patients with an average age of 53 diagnosed with early rheumatoid arthritis. About two thirds of the patients were overweight or obese and most were treated with DMARDs.
Overweight patients were on average 25% less likely to achieve sustained disease remission than patients with a healthy BMI. Obese and very obese patients were respectively 43% and 53% less likely to achieve remission.
The authors said in the paper: ‘Given the positive impact of weight reduction on quality of life, clinicians may want to discuss with patients our data showing a negative impact of adiposity on early RA outcomes.
‘For overweight and obese individuals, it may be helpful to facilitate access to weight management programs and other community resources to help them work towards achieving a healthier weight.’