Approximately 1.3 million Americans currently suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and that number continues to grow. As such a prolific and incurable disease, research is constantly conducted to try and determine the causes and contributing factors to the development of RA. A recent study shows that sugary beverages such as soda, may be one such contributing factor to RA, particularly in women.
While studies have previously linked the consumption of sugary beverages with health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, this appears to be the first connection to rheumatoid arthritis. Similar studies have examined sugary beverages’ effects on knee osteoarthritis in men, but this recent study focused entirely on the female demographic.
The study, conducted by researcher Yang Hu at Harvard School of Public Health, examined information concerning the diet and lifestyle habits of 173,000 women during two different time periods. Every four years the women were required to report the amount of sugary beverages they consumed, not including diet sodas. During the study, 883 women were diagnosed with RA. According to the results, the women who drank one or more sugary beverages a day had a higher risk of developing RA, than those who drank significantly less, or none at all.
When presenting the findings, Hu made it clear that as of now, the information shows only an association, and not a direct linkage between the beverages and the development of RA. Hu also noted that the consumption of these sugary beverages might actually be revealing other unhealthy lifestyle habits that contribute to diseases such as RA, so as of now, it’s only a correlation.
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