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Diagnosis of arthritis 5 years earlier in childless women compared to those with children
Date:6/11/2009

Copenhagen, Denmark, Thursday 11 June 2009: Nulliparous women (those who have not given birth to children) are diagnosed with chronic arthritides (including ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) an average of 5.2 years before parous women (those who have given birth to children), according to a new study presented today at EULAR 2009, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Previous studies have highlighted that pregnancy may be a protective factor against the development of RA, whereas this is the first study to assess the effect of pregnancy and having children on the development of chronic arthritic conditions in premenopausal women. Within the study, the mean age at time of diagnosis for nulliparous women was 26 years, compared with 31.2 years for parous women (p< 0.001).

Rheumatoid factor (an autoantibody sometimes found in the immune systems of people with RA) was also present in 37.1% of the nulliparous women compared with 41.1% of the parous women (p=0.21), which, although not statistically significant, may indicate that the parous women studied may possess a higher disposition to developing arthritis than the nulliparous women.

Dr Marianne Wallenius, of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway, who led the study, said: "Arthritic conditions tend to occur more commonly in women, particularly those of childbearing age. Some symptoms of RA, for example, can improve during pregnancy, but our study indicates that the processes of pregnancy and childbearing could delay the onset of arthritic conditions. Continued examination of the complex interactions between the female reproductive processes and the epidemiology of RA could yield further interesting insights."

The retrospective study analysed 557 women aged 18-45 years from the Norwegian Disease Modifying Antirheumatic Drug (NOR-DMARD) study, who were all diagnosed with chronic arthriti
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Contact: Rory Berrie
eularpressoffice@uk.cohnwolfe.com
44-078-943-86425
European League Against Rheumatism
Source:Eurekalert

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