Low body mass index is associated with impaired quality of life in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Int J Rheum Dis. 2013 Jun;16(3):297-302. doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.12079. Epub 2013 May 23.


Aim: To investigate the relationship between quality of life (QOL) and rheumatoid chachesia, malnutrition in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods: EuroQol Group 5-Dimension Self-Report Questionnaire (EQ5D) and Japanese Health Assessment Questionnaire (JHAQ) scores, body mass index (BMI), arm muscle area (AMA) and clinical indicators were measured in 385 RA patients. One-way analysis of variance for obtained data was conducted among three groups: 131 with low BMI (< 20), 163 with moderate (20-25) and 91 with high BMI (≥25). Then multiple regression analyses for JHAQ and EQ5D scores with nutritional and clinical indicators as independent variables were performed.

Results: EQ5D and JHAQ scores were significantly lower and higher, respectively, in the low BMI group than those in the moderate BMI group. Clinical indicators including doses of corticosteroid were similar among the three groups except for disease duration. Disease activity score (DAS) 28, disease duration, C-reactive protein and AMA were significant variables in the regression model for EQ5D.

Conclusion: Low BMI deteriorates the QOL of RA patients. Muscle protein loss apparently leads to a reduction in BMI and QOL.

Keywords: arm muscle area (AMA); body mass index (BMI); muscle protein; quality of life (QOL); rheumatoid arthritis (RA); rheumatoid chachexia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / psychology*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Cachexia / diagnosis
  • Cachexia / etiology
  • Cachexia / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / complications
  • Malnutrition / diagnosis
  • Malnutrition / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscular Atrophy / diagnosis
  • Muscular Atrophy / etiology
  • Muscular Atrophy / psychology*
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutritional Status
  • Quality of Life*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones