|LESS RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS IF YOU BREAST FEED|
Ann Rheum Dis 2009 Apr;68(4):526-530
This study looked at whether breast feeding or the use of oral contraceptives (OCPs) impacts the future risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Using a community-based health survey, 18,326 women and the incident cases of RA were identified. All women with a diagnosis of RA after inclusion in the health survey (n = 136) and four female controls for every case, who were alive and free from RA when the index person was given a diagnosis of RA, were included in a case-control study. Data on lifestyle factors at baseline were derived from a self-administered questionnaire.
Women who had breastfed for 13 months or more were half as likely to get rheumatoid arthritis as those who had never breast fed. Those who had breast fed for 1 to 12 months were 25% less likely to get the disease.
The protective effect of longer breast feeding remained significant after adjustment for smoking and level of education. The study also found that taking oral contraceptives did not have the same effect. Also, simply having children and not breast feeding also did not seem to be protective.
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