Top 5 causes of rheumatoid arthritis

Identifying the main causes of rheumatoid arthritis can help you identify risk factors.

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

It is an autoimmune disease that results in inflammation of the joints, leading to pain, stiffness, swelling and loss of function.

It is called an autoimmune disease because in this disease, the immune system which is supposed to protect the body, turns against itself and attacks the body, for no apparent reason.

Thus, these patients have antibodies that mistakenly target the body’s own cells. Tissues in different parts of the body may be affected.

What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

  • Swelling, pain, tenderness in joints
  • Symmetrical patterns (ie, symptoms in both knees or both hands)
  • Fatigue
  • Fever or flue like symptoms
  • Stiffness after a rest of 30 minutes or so

What are the causes of rheumatoid arthritis?

There is no conclusive proof about the causes that lead the body to attack itself. So, the exact causes are still very much vague.

However, research and analysis has begun to put together the dominant factors that can lead to the disease.

    1. Genetics: The main cause of rheumatoid arthritis can be found in your genes! A family history can make some people predisposed to developing the disease.

    However, studies reveal that more than one gene is responsible for the disease. Interestingly, some people who have the genes do not develop the disease and some people who develop the disease do not have the genes. So, genetics is only one of the predisposing factors.

    2. Environmental factors: According to experts, environmental factors could be one of the biggest causes of rheumatoid arthritis.

    Genetics may make certain people susceptible to the disease but environment factors may trigger it. Studies are going on to understand the exact causes.

    3. Gender: Studies have shown that women are more at risk than men when it comes to developing rheumatoid arthritis.

    4. Age: Arthritis is known to be the disease of the old people. However, rheumatoid arthritis can affect young people too as it is an autoimmune disease.

    Even so, people between the ages of 40 and 60 are most susceptible to developing this disease.

    5. Other factors: It is believed that certain factors like smoking, taking in too much red meat and being overweight can increase your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. In women, the use of contraceptives may be one of the causes of rheumatoid arthritis.

The ambiguity regarding the exact factors that lead to rheumatoid arthritis is mainly due to the fact that a number of inter-reacting factors can trigger the disease.

This makes it difficult to identify the causes of rheumatoid arthritis precisely. Even so, vigorous efforts are on to pinpoint the exact factors that lead to this disease.


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