For a study, researchers sought to assess the prevalence of central obesity in axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) and its impact on disease-related outcomes, as well as how this varies by gender.

The information was obtained from the Ankylosing Spondylitis Registry of Ireland. Patients having physical measurements for anthropometric measurements were included. BMI and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) were used to compare obesity categories. In addition, there were sex and central obesity comparison studies performed. The effects of these factors on the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI), the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Functional Index (BASFI), and the Ankylosing Spondylitis Quality of Life (ASQoL) questionnaire, and the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) were studied using multivariate analysis.

The analysis comprised 753 patients in all. According to the WHR, 29.6% (n=223) of these patients were categorized as obese based on their BMI, and 41.3% (n=311) were classified as centrally obese. Women with axSpA had a considerably greater prevalence of central adiposity than males (71.6% vs. 29.9%, P<0.01). Central obesity has a significant impact on patient outcomes, independent of gender. The presence of central obesity was linked with substantially lower BASFI (P<0.01), HAQ (P<0.01), and ASQoL questionnaire scores (P=0.01), as well as a nonsignificant tendency toward lower BASDAI scores (P=0.07).

The WHR revealed a significant frequency of central obesity in axSpA, particularly among women with axSpA. This controllable comorbidity was linked to a worse quality of life, a larger impairment of functional capacity, and a trend toward worse disease activity. The use of the WHR to screen for central obesity as part of an axSpA evaluation regularly would allow for early identification and care of at-risk individuals.

Reference: jrheum.org/content/49/6/577