Fast Five Quiz: Rheumatoid Arthritis Myths vs Facts

Herbert S. Diamond, MD


October 25, 2021

Tobacco use is the main lifestyle risk factor for RA. In former smokers, risk may not return to the level seen in nonsmokers for up to 20 years after smoking cessation. Dietary risk factors for RA include the following:

  • Vitamin D deficiency

  • Excessive coffee consumption

  • High salt intake

High red meat intake has been suggested as another risk factor, given the benefits associated with a Mediterranean diet and omega 3 fatty acid intake. However, data are conflicting. Although alcohol may be a trigger for some arthritic conditions, long-term moderate consumption has not been shown to be a significant risk factor for RA development and may be protective. Statin use, omega 3 fatty acid and other fish oil consumption, and breastfeeding have all been linked with decreased risk for RA.

Review info on the etiology of RA.


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