European Journal of Rheumatology
Original Article

Body composition in patients with rheumatoid arthritis is not different than healthy subjects


Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Dokuz Eylül University Faculty of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey


Department of Internal Medicine, Dokuz Eylül University Faculty of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey


Department of Radiology, Dokuz Eylül University Faculty of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey

Eur J Rheumatol 2014; 1: 106-110
DOI: 10.5152/eurjrheumatol.2014.035
Read: 2810 Downloads: 1335 Published: 03 September 2019


Objective: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Increased body fat, particularly its central distribution, is a well-known risk factor for CVD. A change in body composition in RA has been described previously. However, in most of these studies, age- and sex- but not body mass index (BMI)-matched controls were used. The aim of this study was to evaluate body composition in RA patients and compare it with age-, sex-, and BMI-matched controls.


Material and Methods: Sixty-five RA patients (55 females and 10 males; mean age 54.9 ± 10.8) and 31 healthy controls (25 females, 6 males; 53.8±8.6) were included in this study. Mean disease duration was 9.2±9.6 years. Body composition was assessed by anthropometric methods (skinfold thicknesses, body circumferences), bioimpedance analysis, and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Visceral adipose tissue (VAT) was assessed with computed tomography.


Results: There were no significant differences for total body fatness, regional fat distribution, and total body water and fat-free mass between RA patients and control subjects. Bone mineral content (BMC), assessed by DXA, was significantly lower in RA patients (p=0.004). Clinical disease activity indices and steroid treatment do not affect soft tissue body composition or BMC.


Conclusion: At least some RA patients do not have soft tissue composition alterations and may have similar health risks in comparison with subjects with similar age, sex, and total adiposity.

EISSN 2148-4279