The relationship between smoking and knee osteoarthritis in the Osteoarthritis Initiative

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The relationship between smoking and knee osteoarthritis in the Osteoarthritis Initiative
Key Take-Away: 

Smoking is a serious malice affecting the population. It leads to the body's susceptibility to many diseases. This study puts forward the view that knee osteoarthritis (OA) patients get exposed to other well-documented serious health risks in the smokers.

To estimate the extent that smoking history is associated with symptoms and disease progression among individuals with radiographically confirmed knee Osteoarthritis (OA).

ABSTRACT: 
Background: 

To estimate the extent that smoking history is associated with symptoms and disease progression among individuals with radiographically confirmed knee Osteoarthritis (OA).

 

Methods: 

Both cross-sectional (baseline) and longitudinal studies employed data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) (n = 2250 participants).

Smoking history was assessed at 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 (JSW). We used adjusted multivariable linear models 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.

 

Results: 

In cross-sectional analyses, compared to never-smokers high PY (≥15 PY) was associated with slightly greater pain (beta 0.36, 95% CI: 0.01–0.71) and stiffness (beta 0.20, 95% CI: 0.03–0.37); and low PY (<15 PY) was associated with better JSW (beta 0.15, 95% CI: 0.02–0.28).

Current smoking was associated with greater pain (beta 0.59, 95% CI: 0.04–1.15) compared to never-smokers. 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 (at 72 months) or JSW (at 48 months).

 

Conclusion: 

Cross-sectional findings are likely due residual confounding. The more robust longitudinal analysis found no associations between smoking status and symptoms or JSW. Long-term smoking provides no benefits to knee OA patients while exposing them to other well-documented serious health risks.

 

Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 2016 Mar;24(3):465–472

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