Repetitive tasks increase risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis?



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Repetitive tasks at work could increase your risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Research carried out in Sweden shows that people whose jobs involve repetitive physical tasks can be at an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. The study was carried out by Sweden’s Karolinka Institute and was first presented at the annual congress of the European League Against Rheumatism.

The charity Arthritis UK suggests this is the first ever study which proves a link between physical workloads and rheumatoid arthritis. This makes it an important study for moving forward with research. The researchers in Sweden looked at a huge amount of data. They examined records from 3,680 rheumatoid arthritis patients and 5,935 matched control patients. They found that some types of physical activity and work increased the possibility of developing arthritis more than others. Activities which potentially pose an increased risk include:

  • Exposure to repeated vibrations
  • Carrying or lifting weights of 10kg or more
  • Bending or turning
  • Working with hands at below knee level or above shoulder level

Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis Risks

It is clear in some industries and careers people are required to carry out repetitive tasks. However, if a solid link can be found between these particular activities and a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, then it is something that the Health and Safety Executive may have to consider. New protective measures may be made to help protect workers involved in repetitive tasks, to minimise their risk of developing the disease.

Discussing the research, Dr Katherine Free, research liaison manager at Arthritis Research UK commented: “It is concerning to see evidence that repetitive physical work could also increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis; however, we would stress that keeping active remains an important tool for helping to manage many forms of arthritis, and working benefits people’s mental wellbeing, as well allowing them to remain independent,”

It is a balancing act to protect your joints when rheumatoid arthritis is a risk. Anyone with concerns should discuss them in depth with their preferred healthcare professional and get a referral to a local or specialist London rheumatology centre for the best level of treatment. With a

With a referral, it is possible to then discuss all your concerns specific to the risks of arthritis. Effectively managing a new condition and handling a new diagnosis is much less stressful when you have a professional consultant rheumatologist on your side, working to ensure you can live as comfortably as possible.

If you have a question about repetitive tasks at work and how it could increase the risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis then please get in touch with Dr Stephanie Barrett.