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Early menopause, low body mass index, and smoking are independent risk factors for developing giant cell arteritis.

Journal article
Authors K Larsson
Dan Mellström
Elisabeth Nordborg
Claes Nordborg
Anders Odén
Published in Annals of the rheumatic diseases
Volume 65
Issue 4
Pages 529-32
ISSN 0003-4967
Publication year 2006
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Pathology
Department of Mathematical Sciences, Mathematical Statistics
Institute of Medicine, Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research
Pages 529-32
Language en
Keywords Aged, Body Mass Index, Breast Feeding, adverse effects, Female, Humans, Menopause, Premature, Middle Aged, Reproductive History, Risk Factors, Smoking, adverse effects, Temporal Arteritis, etiology
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences, Endocrinology


OBJECTIVE: To assess female sex hormone related variables in a group of women with biopsy positive giant cell arteritis and a control group. METHODS: 49 women with biopsy positive giant cell arteritis, aged 50 to 69 years at the time of diagnosis, answered a questionnaire on hormonal and reproductive factors. The same questions were answered by a large population of women from the same geographical area in connection with routine mammograms. The results were tested statistically, using logistic regression analysis of each variable adjusted for age, and a multivariate logistic regression analysis including age and the variables which differed significantly between giant cell arteritis and controls. RESULTS: From the multivariate logistic regression analysis, three independent variables were associated with an increased risk of having giant cell arteritis: smoking and being an ex-smoker (odds ratio (OR) = 6.324 (95% confidence interval (CI), 3.503 to 11.418), p<0.0001); body mass index (a reduction of 1.0 kg/m2 increased the risk by 10% (OR = 0.898 (0.846 to 0.952), p = 0.0003); and menopause before the age of 43 (OR = 3.521 (1.717 to 7.220), p = 0.0006). CONCLUSIONS: There was a significant association between hormonal and reproduction related factors and the risk of developing giant cell arteritis in women given the diagnosis before the age of 70. The results suggest a possible role of oestrogen deficiency in the pathogenesis of giant cell arteritis. To confirm the results, an extended study will be needed, including women older than 70.

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