4 occupations, 3 involving noxious airborne substances, were associated with an increased risk for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in this large case-control study.
Why this matters
Previous studies of RA and occupation did not adjust for environmental or lifestyle risk factors or stratify patients by positive or negative anticitrullinated protein antibodies (ACPAs) status.
- 3522 patients with RA and 5580 control patients with complete data.
- Adjusted, elevated RA risk in men in the following occupational groups:
- —Electrical/electronics workers (OR, 2.1 for ACPA+; OR, 2.6 for ACPA−).
- —Bricklayers, concrete workers (OR, 2.9 for ACPA+; OR, 2.4 for ACPA−).
- —Material handling operators (OR, 2.4 for ACPA+).
- —ORs slightly lower after adjustment for silica exposure.
- Adjusted, elevated RA risk in women in the following occupations:
- —Assistant nurses/attendants (OR, 1.3 for ACPA+).
- Population-based case-control study of adults with newly diagnosed RA (n=3724) and age-, sex-, and residential area-matched control participants (n=5935).
- Participants were checked for ACPA status, asked about their occupation in the previous year.
- Analyses were adjusted for matching variables plus smoking, alcohol use, BMI, education.
- Funding: Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life, and Welfare; AFA Insurance.
- Study possibly underpowered to detect other occupational associations.
- Bias potential from group differences, selection bias.