Weight loss doesn't halt disability progression in RA
- Disability scores were higher among severely obese patients compared to overweight
- Patients who were severely obese had a greater risk of progressive disability compared to overweight patients
- Weight loss was also associated with a greater risk of disability.
The results of the study are significant, considering the increasing rate of obesity. "While patients and rheumatologists may be focused mostly on disease activity, we should also consider this common condition, which can contribute to problems that are usually attributed to the arthritis itself," said Dr. Baker. "In addition, unintentional weight loss should alert us that the patient may be becoming frail and is at risk for developing new disability."
The researchers concluded that severe obesity is linked to more rapid progression of disability in RA patients. Weight loss is also associated with worsening disability, related to development of disease‐related or age-related frailty.
As new therapies and approaches to weight loss become available, these results will help promote their use in patients with arthritis, to help prevent disability over the long-term. The findings may also encourage health providers to recognize unintentional weight loss as a poor prognostic sign and refer patients for strength training, physical therapy, and other interventions to prevent disability.