Tonsillectomy during Childhood Increase Risk Of Developing Arthritis Later In Life

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A recent study reveals that individuals who had their tonsils removed in childhood face a more than 30 percent increased risk of developing a severe form of arthritis later in life. Additionally, having older siblings can also elevate the risk of ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic inflammatory arthritis characterized by inflammation in the spine, joints, and tendons, resulting in symptoms such as stiffness, fatigue, and pain. 

Early childhood infections increase arthritis risk later in life

The study published in RMD Open suggests that childhood infections may contribute to the development of a certain condition. While genetics are the primary cause, researchers believe early life factors are also influential.

Swedish researchers utilized data from national population registries to investigate the impact of early life risk factors on ankylosing spondylitis in adults. They categorized cases as individuals with diagnosed ankylosing spondylitis between 2001 and 2022. 

Researchers looked at various factors, including the mother’s age at delivery, weight during early pregnancy, smoking habits, pregnancy duration, baby’s birth weight, multiple births, type of delivery, maternal infections during pregnancy, and birth season. They also considered factors like the number of siblings, childhood infections up to age 15, and removal of tonsils or appendix before age 16. 

Having older siblings associated with ankylosing spondylitis risk

The study found that various factors are associated with an increased risk of ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis. Having older siblings, experiencing serious childhood infections, having a tonsillectomy before age 16, and being part of multiple birth are linked to higher risks. On the other hand, individuals born in summer or autumn have a lower risk compared to those born in winter.

In a sibling comparison study conducted by researchers at the Karolinska Institutet, it was revealed that individuals with one older sibling had an 18% increased risk of a certain health condition. This risk further escalated to 34% for those with two or more older siblings. Despite a decrease in the risk of serious childhood infections to only 4%, the study identified a substantial 36% increase in the risk of tonsil removal when adjusting for other influential variables.

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