Breastfeeding Reduces Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Posted Jun 05 2010 7:46pm
I posted late last year about research that indicated women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) experienced improvement in their RA symptoms during pregnancy . This research found that the relief was related to the amount of fetal DNA in their blood. The higher the level of fetal DNA, the greater the level of relief.
Now there is a Swedish study that has found that women that breast-feed for more than a year after the birth of their children have a reduced risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis.
The research, conducted by a team from Malmö University Hospital, analyzed case history for 136 women with RA and 544 without. Women who breastfed for 13 or more months had a 54% reduced risk of developing RA and those that breastfed for 1 to 12 months had a 26% reduction in risk compared to women that never breastfed.
In addition, women who gave birth to more children tended to have a lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis by 13% for each child. However, breast-feeding appeared to be a more significant factor in the development of RA.
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of women who breast-feed for more than six months according to the researchers. They concluded that it is difficult to say whether there’s a link between higher rates of breast-feeding and a corresponding decline in the number of women with rheumatoid arthritis. But the result of this study adds to the list of benefits of breast-feeding for both infant and mother.
The results of this study were published May 13th in the online journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.