In contrast to the general population, low body mass index has been associated with premature death in patients with rheumatoid arthritis -- a situation known as the "obesity paradox." A new Arthritis & Rheumatology study shows that weight loss, as opposed to low body mass index per se, is a strong predictor of mortality in these patients.
The study also found that the greater the rate of weight loss, the higher the risk of early death. The findings suggest that there isn't a biologically protective role of obesity, and they indicate that patients with rheumatoid arthritis who experience unintentional weight loss should be closely monitored.
Arthritis & Rheumatology