Home Rheumatology ACR: Higher BMI Linked to Worse Flare Symptoms in Early RA

ACR: Higher BMI Linked to Worse Flare Symptoms in Early RA

Patients with obesity had amplified impact of elevated BMI on RA-Flare Questionnaire scores compared with healthy weight, overweight

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Nov. 21, 2023 (HealthDay News) — For patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA), higher body mass index (BMI) is associated with worse flare symptoms, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, held from Nov. 10 to 15 in San Diego.

Margaret Butler, from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, and colleagues recruited participants with two or more swollen joints and early/recent-onset RA at two centers to examine the impact of elevated BMI on the severity of RA flare symptoms and quality of life (QOL). At each visit, baseline characteristics and patient-reported outcomes were recorded. The OMERACT RA-Flare Questionnaire (RA-FQ) was used to determine flares. Data were included for 134 participants; 46 percent had overweight or obesity.

The researchers found that higher Evaluator Global Assessment (EGA) scores and elevated BMI were significant predictors of higher RA-FQ scores (β = 2.3 and 0.38, respectively); EGA was significantly associated with all five RA-FQ subscores, and BMI was significantly associated with four subscores. Compared with those in the healthy-weight and overweight categories, in patients with obesity, there was an amplified impact of elevated BMI on RA-FQ scores. An inverse association was seen for age with the total RA-FQ score and function subscore (β = −0.11 and −0.03, respectively).

“Our key finding was that there was a linear relationship between having a higher BMI and having a higher RA-FQ score,” Butler said in a statement. “Having a higher BMI also predicted worse scores in each of the five individual categories except physical function.”

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