Hand handicap and rheumatoid arthritis in a fish-eating society (the Faroe Islands)

J Intern Med. 1990 Jan;227(1):49-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.1990.tb00118.x.


In the county of Klaksvik, the Faroes, a simple hand test was used for screening all inhabitants between the ages of 40 and 74 years. With its high sensitivity and specificity it revealed a diagnostic panorama entirely different from that seen in previous investigations in other nordic countries. In Klaksvik the prevalence of hand handicap was about 40%, which is due to the high incidence of osteoarthrosis. The prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis was 1.1%. The high functional capacity and the lower occurrence of rheumatic nodules and erosions found in the patients with rheumatoid arthritis as compared with previous studies suggest that the disease takes a milder course in Klaksvik. This should support the hypothesis that RA patients benefit from a diet rich in fish.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / epidemiology
  • Climate
  • Denmark
  • Diet
  • Disabled Persons
  • Female
  • Fishes
  • Hand
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / diagnosis*
  • Osteoarthritis / epidemiology