Living by highways - An arthritis risk factor?
This is pretty interesting stuff. Ask yourself the question, "Can living near a highway increase a woman's risk for rheumatoid arthritis?". You wouldn't think so. After all, what does a highway and that particular (or any) autoimmune condition have to do with each other.
Well, a new study suggests this is true! Environmental pollutants have been previously determined as factors that increase the risk for arthritis, a condition that causes painful swelling of the joints particularly among older adults, and also inflammation in general. Therefore, researcher now theorize that living in an area near highways, with exposure to higher levels of exhaust fumes, may also be contributing factor.
The Harvard study examined 90,297 women from 1976 to 2004, which is a reasonably lengthy longitudinal study. The researchers then looked at the location of the women's homes in 2000 and calculated the distance from the house to highways with more than two lanes. Of this group, 687 women developed rheumatoid arthritis. After controlling variables such as age, smoking, taking birth control pills and others, women living within 55 yards of a highway or major road had an increased risk of 31 percent compared with women living 220 or more yards from a major road. Fairly amazing.
The research does not suggest that anyone living near a highway should move. Jaime E. Hart, the leader of the study, also suggested that there are a lot of variables beyond pollutants that are involved in living near a highway. There are many factors involved in developing arthritis, and this is just another factor that increases the risk for some women.
Who would have guessed, though.
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