Does smoking helps in the prevention of knee osteoarthritis?
Smoking has a negative impact on health and it is a well-established fact. With regard to smoking and its effect on osteoarthritis, there is contradictory evidence. Researchers have suggested that smoking has a negative effect on osteoarthritis, but at least one study suggests there may be a protective effect against osteoarthritis. To estimate the extent that smoking history is associated with symptoms and disease progression among individuals with radio-graphically confirmed knee Osteoarthritis (OA), a study was conducted.
In the cross-sectional and longitudinal conducted studies, data were employed from the osteoarthritis initiative with 2250 participants. Smoking history was assessed at the baseline with 44% current or former smokers. The Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index (WOMAC) was used to measure knee pain, stiffness and physical function. Disease progression was measured using joint space width 9(JSW). Adjustable linear models were used to examine the relationship between smoking status and exposure in pack years (PY) with symptoms and JSW at baseline. Changes in symptoms and JSW over time were further assessed.
It was observed after cross-sectional analyses, compared to never-smokers high PY was associated with slightly greater pain and stiffness and low PY was associated with greater pain compared to smokers. However, these associations were not confirmed in the longitudinal study. Longitudinally, no associations were found between high or low PY or baseline smoking status with changes in symptoms or JSW.
After the analysis, cross-sectional findings were likely due to confounding. The more robust longitudinal analysis found with no associations between smoking and symptoms or JSW. Long term smoking provided no benefits to knee OA patients while they were exposed them to other well-documented serious health risks.