The Prevalence, Incidence, and Progression of Hand Osteoarthritis in Relation to Body Mass Index, Smoking, and Alcohol Consumption

J Rheumatol. 2017 Sep;44(9):1402-1409. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.170026. Epub 2017 Jul 15.


Objective: To estimate the extent that overweight/obesity, smoking, and alcohol are associated with prevalence and longitudinal changes of radiographic hand osteoarthritis (OA).

Methods: Participants from the Osteoarthritis Initiative (n = 1232) were included, of whom 994 had 4-year followup data. In analyses on incident hand OA, only persons without hand OA at baseline were included (n = 406). Our exposure variables were overweight/obesity [body mass index (BMI), waist circumference], smoking (current/former, smoking pack-yrs), and alcohol consumption (drinks/week). Using linear and logistic regression analyses, we analyzed possible associations between baseline exposure variables and radiographic hand OA severity, erosive hand OA, incidence of hand OA, and radiographic changes. Analyses were adjusted for age, sex, and education.

Results: Neither overweight nor obesity were associated with hand OA. Current smoking was associated with less hand OA in cross-sectional analyses, whereas longitudinal analyses suggested higher odds of incident hand OA in current smokers (OR 2.20, 95% CI 1.02-4.77). Moderate alcohol consumption was associated with higher Kellgren-Lawrence sum score at baseline (1-3 drinks: 1.55, 95% CI 0.43-2.67) and increasing sum score during 4-year followup (4-7 drinks: 0.33, 95% CI 0.01-0.64). Moderate alcohol consumption (1-7 drinks/week) was associated with 2-fold higher odds of erosive hand OA, which was statistically significant. Additional adjustment for BMI gave similar strengths of associations.

Conclusion: Overweight/obesity were not associated with hand OA. Contrasting results were observed for smoking and hand OA, suggesting lack of association. Moderate alcohol consumption was associated with hand OA severity, radiographic changes, and erosive hand OA, warranting further investigation.


MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Hand Joints / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoarthritis / epidemiology*
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / adverse effects*