Drinking multiple cups of coffee every day does not appear to increase your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), new research suggests.
Numerous other reports have debated the issue - some with similar findings and some suggesting that the opposite was, in fact, the case.
Researchers of the current study said they followed more people for more time than previous reports, and there is very little biologic reason why coffee or tea might influence the risk of RA. They hope their findings will help settle the debate.
After reviewing information collected from more than 80,000 women over an almost 20 year period, the researchers found that the risk of RA appeared unrelated to the amount of decaffeinated coffee, coffee, tea and total caffeine women consumed.
RA is a chronic inflammatory condition in which the body's own immune system attacks the tissue lining the joints. The cause of RA is not well understood, but research suggests that age, smoking, obesity and genetic factors may play a role in the development of the disease.
Although women's choice of beverage appeared to have no influence on their risk of RA, their smoking habits did. Specifically, the researchers found that heavy smokers were more likely to develop RA than non-smokers, a finding that other researchers have discovered, as well.
As well, coffee drinkers may be more likely to be long-term smokers than non-coffee drinkers, and this tendency may help explain why previous reports linked drinking coffee with RA.
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