Studies on the association between coffee, a modifiable lifestyle factor, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic autoimmune disease primarily affecting the joints, have been conflicting. The aim of the present study was to study the association between coffee consumption and risk of RA in the context of different lifestyle factors.
We included 2184 cases (72% women, mean age 55 years) newly diagnosed with RA during 2005-2018 in Sweden and 4201 controls matched on age, sex, and residential area. Data on coffee consumption was collected through a food frequency questionnaire and categorized into < 2 (reference), 2-< 4, 4-< 6, and ≥ 6 cups/day. We calculated odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for coffee consumption and risk of RA, in a crude model (taking matching factors into account), and then adjusted first for smoking and further for BMI, educational level, alcohol consumption, and physical activity. We also stratified analyses on sex, smoking, rheumatoid factor, and anti-CCP2 status.
In the crude model, high coffee consumption was associated with increased risk of RA (OR = 1.50, 95% CI 1.20-1.88 for ≥ 6 cups/day compared to < 2 cups). After adjusting for smoking, the OR decreased and was no longer statistically significant (OR = 1.16, 95% CI 0.92-1.46) and decreased further in the full model (OR = 1.14 95% CI 0.89-1.45). This pattern held true in all strata.
The findings from this large, population-based case-control study did not support a significant association between coffee consumption and risk of RA as a whole nor within different subgroups.