Smoking accelerates the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and can significantly deteriorate its symptoms. Researchers at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, USA, studied the severity of the disease in nearly 400 patients. They studied extensive joints erosion, nodules beneath the skin and high levels of rheumatoid factor in the blood. Smokers were thrice as likely to have high levels of rheumatoid factor and twice as likely to have extensive erosions against those who did not smoke. Observations revealed that patients with extensive erosions are likely to die sooner and their conditions are more painful than those with milder forms of the disease ( British Medical Journal , 27 August, 1997).
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