Rheumatoid arthritis patients who are overweight are at elevated risk of synovitis, an inflammation of the joint lining, according to research presented at the American College of Rheumatology’s annual meeting in San Diego.

Italian researchers studied 125 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and they noticed patterns associated with weight.

“Obesity incidence is increasing in the general population, and multiple studies confirm that obesity is a risk factor associated with the development of RA,” said Stefano Alivernini, a rheumatologist at Rome’s Catholic University of the Sacred Heart and lead author, in a release.

Based on the study results, Alivernini said, it’s important to track patients’ body mass index.

“There is a tight relation between the BMI category of RA patients and their chance of a good clinical response to treat-to- target,” he said. “Since body weight is a modifiable factor, a
standardized, multidisciplinary approach to help the patient achieve weight loss should be advised to increase disease control.”

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