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Hold the decaf? (Quick Studies).

In a not-yet-published study that tracked more than 31,000 Iowa women aged 55 to 69, those who drank four or more cups of decaffeinated coffee a day had more than twice the risk of rheumatoid arthritis compared to those who drank no decaf.

Tea seemed to reduce the risk, while regular coffee had no impact. Researchers don't yet know whether decaf is the culprit. It's possible that many women switch to decaf after they start having symptoms.

Rheumatoid arthritis is far less common than osteoarthritis, which affects nearly everyone by the age of 70. Rheumatoid arthritis strikes women--typically between the ages of 25 and 50--two to three times more often than men. Patients suffer from chronic inflammation of the joints, possibly due to an autoimmune reaction, in which the body attacks itself.

What to do: It's too early to conclude that decaf raises the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Until we know more, if you drink four or more cups a day, consider cutting back.
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Publication:Nutrition Action Healthletter
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2002
Words:165
Previous Article:Obesity: childhood epidemic. (Quick Studies).
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