Risk Factors for Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the joints. While the disorder can occur at any age, it’s most prevalent in females between in their 40s and 50s.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a crippling autoimmune disease of the joints. The function of white blood cells is to attack bacteria and viruses. For some, however, they move from the bloodstream into the joints’ surrounding membranes. The blood cells are responsible for inflaming the joints and causing the release of proteins that build up over months and years and cause further thickening of the joints. According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors do not know what causes rheumatoid arthritis.

Though no known cause has been officially determined, studies have exposed possible links. Genetics and viruses in the environment have been connected to this potentially disfiguring disease. Sex, age and smoking are other risk factors the Mayo Clinic has determined to cause white blood cells to attack the body.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Facts and Statistics

Women are three times more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis. Women also experience more painful symptoms. Research presented at the Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies showed that 71 percent of women studied reported poor sleep quality related to the pain caused by their arthritis. One study published in the journal Arthritis Research reported that women with rheumatoid arthritis score lower than men on pain and depression questionnaires.

Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age. However, it is most prevalent between the ages of 40 and 60. For many years, it was believed that genetics played a larger role in the development of this illness. A University of Pittsburgh study reversed this belief. Their study showed that rheumatoid arthritis “may be more accurately related to the sex and age at onset of the affected family member.”

Who Gets Rheumatoid Arthritis

Even though genetics was determined less of a risk factor in developing rheumatoid arthritis compared with age and gender, it cannot be discounted altogether, either. The Mayo Clinic reports that though rheumatoid arthritis cannot be inherited, family members of sufferers do have a predisposition to the illness. However, it is siblings of the rheumatoid arthritis sufferer, rather than children, who are more likely to develop the disorder, according to the University of Pittsburgh study.

The American College of Rheumatology found that rheumatoid arthritis is nearly double for smokers than for non-smokers. They also found links between early onset of the illness and the number of cigarettes smoked per day in addition to onset of rheumatoid arthritis in old age and the number of years the person was a smoker.

There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. Treatments such as back arthritis pain relief by Sohealth can only aspire to limit the inflammation in the joints, reduce pain and prevent further inflammation and deterioration. Some of the medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis include steroid and non-steroidal drugs, immunosuppressant and cell-protein alpha inhibitors. In extreme cases, surgery is considered.

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