An epidemiological study of rheumatoid arthritis in a northern Ontario clinical practice: the role of ethnicity

J Adv Nurs. 1996 Jul;24(1):31-5. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.1996.01554.x.


This study was designed to investigate differences between cultural groupings in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The sample was made up of 235 individuals suffering from RA from four groupings: Canadian aboriginals, Finnish Canadians, Italian Canadians and other caucasian Canadians. The study was a retrospective chart analysis (non-randomly selected) designed to compare ethnic groupings on the following dimensions: demographic factors, clinical manifestations of RA, laboratory results, and drug therapy response. Results of the study support to some extent findings from previous research. Specifically, the following was found. The study showed a female to male predominance in sufferers of RA in all but one ethnic group. Canadian aboriginals tended to contract the disease much earlier in life than other ethnic groups. More Canadian aboriginals reported a family history of RA than other groupings. Only Canadian aboriginals and caucasian Canadians showed involvement of the C1-C2 joint with subluxation. Italian Canadians tended to have a higher mean haemoglobin than other groupings, while Canadian aboriginals tended to have a higher mean platelet count than other groupings, and an elevated anti-nuclear antibody count. While most of the drugs used to treat RA produced no significantly distinct reactions, the Italian and Canadian caucasian groups had the highest percentage of subjects with reactive dermatitis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / blood
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / ethnology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology
  • Female
  • Finland / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American*
  • Italy / ethnology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Whites*