Data from a national survey showed that adults with juvenile arthritis were obese and at significantly higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome, according to a new study.
The survey was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The findings were reported in the study “Metabolic syndrome in adults with a history of juvenile arthritis,” published in the journal Open Access Rheumatology: Research and Reviews.
Children with juvenile arthritis are known to be at higher risk for certain disease-specific complications, but there is limited information on long-term body composition and fitness about these patients.
Adults with rheumatoid arthritis (condition diagnosed after the age of 16; if before, it is considered juvenile arthritis) have an increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is the co-occurrence of several risk factors for heart disease, namely high blood pressure, diabetes, excess weight around the waist (abdominal obesity), and abnormal cholesterol levels.
Now, researchers assessed a possible association between juvenile arthritis and obesity, and risk factors for the development of metabolic syndrome.
The team analyzed data collected by the “National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)” from the U.S. adult population from 2007 to 2014. Information on weight, body mass index, laboratory tests, and physical activity was scrutinized, in addition to several “yes-or-no” questions regarding arthritis diagnosis and health status.
Researchers found that of the 232 juvenile arthritis respondents, 67% were obese (body mass index equal or higher than 30 kg/m2). In the control group without arthritis, this value was 55%.
Respondents with juvenile arthritis also reported elevated levels of C-reactive protein (an indicator of inflammation) compared to those without arthritis, as well as more hypertension and diabetes.
Compared to respondents with rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis respondents were as obese as them, but had a lower prevalence of hypertension and diabetes.
Results also showed that the odds of developing metabolic syndrome were higher in both juvenile arthritis (5.2 timer higher) and rheumatoid arthritis (3.2 times higher) groups, compared to the group without arthritis, taking into account age, gender and race.
Overall, “we found that adults with a history of JA [juvenile arthritis] have sixfold increased risk of metabolic syndrome compared to those without arthritis. These findings are important because metabolic syndrome has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death in other populations, and adults with JA should be monitored closely for these complications,” the team concluded.