A new study from Iceland and Sweden published in JAMA reveals one factor that can increase the risk of arthritis by a scary 36%.
What’s more, by managing this factor, you can avoid arthritis flare-ups.
To obtain their data, these researchers analyzed information collected by a population- and sibling-matched retrospective study performed in Sweden between 1981 and 2013.
The subjects included 106,464 people with stress-related disorders—along with 1,064,640 people who matched them on most characteristics but who had no stress-related conditions—and 126,652 siblings of people from both groups.
They also used the National Patient Register to identify cases of stress-related conditions and autoimmune diseases.
During the 10-year follow-up period, people with stress diagnoses were 36% more likely to develop an autoimmune disorder than their peers without stress diagnoses.
Those with post-traumatic stress disorder were 46% more likely to develop these conditions than their peers. They were more than twice as likely to have three or more autoimmune conditions than those without stress-related conditions.
Post-traumatic stress disorder was the most damaging of all the stress-related conditions.
This disturbing study shows that post-traumatic stress disorder, which is already life altering, also increases the risk of developing other life-altering conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
The authors speculate that this could be due to a combination of increased cortisol levels and increased circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines, both of which drastically increase the risk of arthritis.
Most of us who have suffered from arthritis can, however, bear witness to the fact that symptoms often worsen when we’re under a lot of stress. Therefore, lowering cortisol levels by using simple relaxation exercises can be very beneficial against arthritis, even if you don’t suffer from stress disorders.