Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes
It’s easy to take movement for granted. As nice as it might seem, sometimes, to stay in bed all day and catch up on lost sleep, the bottom line is that it is great feeling to get up and get moving…anywhere. Those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis don’t exactly have this luxury. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the lining of the membranes (synovium) that surrounds your joints. The disease is characterized by warm, tender joints that become inflamed and swollen along with fatigue, fever, weight loss, and morning stiffness that can last for hours- not exactly quite as much fun to get moving, huh?
What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Photo credit: aithom2
While the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known, doctors think that it may result from a combination of genetics mixed with environmental factors. So basically, infection with some type of bacteria or virus can become a trigger, causing rheumatoid arthritis in a person who is genetically vulnerable. There is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis, and to date, no specific organism or infection has been labeled as “the cause.”
Risk Factors: Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis
1. Sex: Females are much more likely to acquire rheumatoid arthritis. What causes arthritis to affect women more than men? According to rheumatologist, Scott J. Zashin, MD, auto immune diseases, in general, are more common in women than in men. One theory suggests that female hormones may play a role in this.
2. Age: Onset of rheumatoid arthritis most commonly occurs in middle-aged people, primarily aged 40-60, however, the elderly and even young children can acquire the disease.
3. Family History: While there is no debate that genetics play a role, they are not primary cause of arthritis. They just increase your susceptibility through other environmental triggers, such as bacterial or viral infections.
4. Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, especially heavy, long-term smoking. In fact, smokers don’t even need a genetic predisposition. Smoking causes arthritis risk all by itself.
Soap Box: Seriously, why do people even smoke in this day and age? The dangers associated with it are plastered everywhere! All the negative side effects, diseases, atrocious smell, yellow teeth, second hand effects on others (especially young children who are innocently exposed), speak for themselves. In my opinion, people who smoke, knowing how bad it is for you, must just want to put themselves on the pathway for a long walk through hell.
Being able to move freely, and without pain is a huge blessing. Rheumatoid Arthritis causes a major kink in those freedoms. Being well educated about the causes and risk factors associated with rheumatoid arthritis is a good idea, especially if you are experiencing joint pain. While many of the causes of arthritis are out of our control, by making wise decisions in regards to the things we can control will go a long way in keeping us healthy, allowing us to avoid infections that may trigger the disease. Eat right, exercise, get good sleep, and for heaven’s sake, DON’T SMOKE!
Eustice, Carol. (Updated November 17, 2008) Women Are More Affected by Arthritis Than Men. Retrieved on February 24, 2012 from http://arthritis.about.com/od/arthritissignssymptoms/a/women_arthritis.htm
Rheumatoid Arthritis- Risk Factors. (2011). Retrieved on February 24, 2012 from http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/who_gets_rheumatoid_arthritis_000048_3.htm
Rheumatoid Arthritis. (Novemeber 2, 2011). Retrieved on February 24, 2012 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/rheumatoid-arthritis/DS00020/DSECTION=causes
The Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis. (Reviewed March 7, 2010). Retrieved on February 24, 2012 from http://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/guide/the-causes-of-rheumatoid-arthritis