CO-EXISTING AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE
Overall, 1,649 (18.5%) reported at least one AD, the most commonly reported was thyroid disease. The frequency of AD increased with age (Figure 1). Nearly 5% of participants (410) reported a pre-existing autoimmune disease when their MS symptoms first started.
Of the 8,929 participants who answered the smoking questions, 99% (8875) also answered the questions about co-existing AD. Of these, 4834 participants had ever smoked. Among those who had ever smoked, 10.7% reported at least one AD. Among non-smokers, 7.8% reported at least one AD. Ever smokers were 22% more likely to report an autoimmune disease than non-smokers.
Among those participants who did not have an AD when their MS symptoms first started, smokers were 23% more likely to develop an AD than non-smokers. Female smokers had a 29% increased risk of developing a co-existing AD but male smokers did not have an increased risk of developing a co-existing AD. Smoking was associated with a 43% increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis and 38% increased risk of uveitis. These findings suggest that further research is needed into the effects of smoking in persons with MS. Other researchers will need to see if they can reproduce these findings.
NARCOMS, SMOKING STATUS
We will continue to ask about smoking status to see if these relationships change over time and we have added questions about exposure to secondhand smoke to determine if there are similar relationships between exposure to someone else’s smoke and AD in persons with MS.
"Women smokers had a 29% increased
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Figure 1. Autoimmune Diseases by Age Group