Low testosterone linked to arthritis

accreditation
istock

Both men and women with rheumatoid arthritis have lower levels of testosterone in their blood than people without the disease. But it has not been known whether low testosterone levels are a cause or effect of rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of joint function. Severe cases can last a lifetime.

Read: Arthritis myths debunked

In this study, Swedish researchers analysed blood samples collected from 104 men who were later diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and 174 men of the same age who did not develop the disease.

The average time between collection of the blood sample and a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis was just less than 13 years, but ranged from 1 to 28 years.

After taking into account known rheumatoid arthritis risk factors such as smoking and weight, the researchers found that men with lower testosterone levels were more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.

Read: Preventing rheumatoid arthritis

They did not, however, prove a cause-and-effect link between the two.

These men also had significantly higher levels of follicle stimulating hormone- a chemical involved in sexual maturity and reproduction before they were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, according to the study.

Read: Broccoli may prevent arthritis

The findings suggest that hormonal changes occur before rheumatoid arthritis develops and could influence disease severity, the researchers said in a journal news release.

Rheumatoid arthritis results from the immune system attacking the body's own tissues. Previous research suggests that testosterone may dampen the immune system, the researchers said.

Read more:

33 facts on arthritis 

Arthritis: When to get help

Condom lubricant no cure for arthritis

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 618 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 7416 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
10% - 921 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.63
+1.2%
Rand - Pound
20.21
-0.1%
Rand - Euro
17.60
-0.4%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.45
+1.5%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.8%
Gold
1,724.26
+1.4%
Silver
21.03
+1.5%
Palladium
2,315.50
+4.1%
Platinum
933.50
+3.2%
Brent Crude
88.86
+4.2%
Top 40
59,840
+3.3%
All Share
66,313
+3.2%
Resource 10
64,568
+4.5%
Industrial 25
80,073
+3.2%
Financial 15
14,053
+1.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE