Smoking Linked To Severity Of Osteoarthritis In Men
Men who smoke and have osteoarthritis in the knees tend to lose more
cartilage and suffer more severe knee pain than non-smoking men. This was
the conclusion of a study headed by Dr Shreyasee Amin of the Mayo Clinic
College of Medicine in the US.
The results of the study were published this month in the Annals of the
The 30-month study investigated 159 men, of which 19 were smokers. The
smokers tended to be younger and leaner (of lower body mass index, BMI)
than the men who did not smoke. However, once the results were adjusted
for BMI and age, they revealed an increased risk of cartilage loss and
significantly elevated pain scores in the smokers compared to the non-
The researchers used MRI scans at the start, middle and end of the 30-month period to detect cartilage wear, and the men assessed their pain
intensity on a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) using a scale of 0 to 100.
Osteoarthritis (OA), sometimes known as "degenaritive joint disease" is
the most common type of arthritis and tends to occur in older people.
Cartilage is a resilient but slippery tissue that stops bones in joints
like the knees from rubbing against each other and therefore wearing each
In OA the cartilage becomes thin and the bones rub against
each other and cause inflammation, pain and loss of mobility. In time, the
joint can become swollen and misshapen, bits of cartilage break off, and also spurs of bone
tissue grow across the joint.
"Cigarette smoking and the risk for cartilage loss and knee pain in men with knee osteoarthritis"
Shreyasee Amin, Jingbo Niu, Ali Guermazi, Mikayel Grigoryan, David J
Hunter, Margaret Clancy, Michael P LaValley, Harry K Genant, and David T
Ann Rheum Dis, Dec 2006; doi:10.1136/ard.2006.056697