Association of Asthma with Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Population-Based Case-Control Study

Youn Ho Sheen, Mary C. Rolfes, Chung Il Wi, Cindy S. Crowson, Richard S. Pendegraft, Katherine S. King, Euijung Ryu, Young J. Juhn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background TH1 and TH2 cells have counterregulatory relationships. However, the relationship between asthma, a TH2-predominant condition, and risk of systemic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a TH1 condition, is poorly understood. Objective We aimed to determine whether asthma was associated with increased risks of incident RA among adults. Methods We conducted a retrospective population-based case-control study that examined existing incident RA cases and controls matched by age, sex, and registration year from the general population in Olmsted County, Minnesota, between January 2002 and December 2007. We performed comprehensive medical record reviews to ascertain asthma status using predetermined asthma criteria. The frequency of a history of asthma before the index date was compared between cases and controls. Logistic regression models were used to adjust for confounding factors. Results We enrolled 221 RA cases and 218 controls. Of the 221 RA cases, 156 (70.6%) were females, 207 (93.7%) were white, the median age at the index date was 52.5 years, and 53 (24.0%) had a history of asthma. Controls had similar characteristics except that 35 of 218 controls (16.1%) had a history of asthma. After adjustment for sex, age, smoking, body mass index, socioeconomic status, and comorbidity, asthma was significantly associated with increased risks of RA (adjusted odds ratio, 1.74; 95% CI, 1.05-2.90; P =.03). Conclusions Despite the counterregulatory relationship between TH1 and TH2 cells, patients with asthma had a significantly higher risk of developing RA than healthy individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-226
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Adults
  • Asthma
  • Epidemiology
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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