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What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis? — an article on the Smart Living Network
February 9, 2010 at 4:50 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?

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Rheumatoid arthritis is a crippling form of arthritis that affects the joints. It may make it impossible to do simple things like open jars or walk. Over 2.1 million people in the United States alone suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by a problem with the immune system, so it is classified as an autoimmune disease.Sometimes the body is unable to distinguish between its own cells and foreign invaders like bacteria or viruses. When this happens, the body's immune system will often attack the body's own tissues.

Although rheumatoid arthritis is not fully understood, we know that the problem begins when white blood cells leave the bloodstream and attack the joint lining, causing it to become inflamed. Over time, the joint lining thickens due to the release of proteins. These proteins can also damage the cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and even bone. Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other organs, such as the eyes, mouth, and lungs. Rheumatoid arthritis can eventually destroy the joints if left untreated.

Rheumatoid Factor

Sometimes the body gets confused and there are miscommunications. One of these miscommunications is known as the rheumatoid factor. Rheumatoid factor is an antibody, and high levels of this antibody indicate a more severe case of rheumatoid arthritis.

What Factors Increase My Risk of Developing Rheumatoid Arthritis?

There are many risk factors that indicate a person is more in danger of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Gender: Women are two to three times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men . Although men are less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, their symptoms are usually more severe when they do develop it.
  • Age: Although rheumatoid arthritis may occur at any age, it is most likely to occur between the ages of forty and sixty.
  • Genetic Predisposition: Rheumatoid arthritis may have a genetic component. If someone in your family has rheumatoid arthritis, you may be at increased risk.
  • Infection: Some doctors believe that certain viruses may trigger rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Lifestyle Habits: Smoking greatly increases your risk of getting rheumatoid arthritis.

Unfortunately, most of these risk factors cannot be controlled. You cannot change your age, gender, or genetic predispositions. If you smoke and you have any of these other risk factors, you should stop smoking. Rheumatoid arthritis is not contagious.

It is important to treat rheumatoid arthritis as soon as possible in order to ensure the best possible quality of life. Your health practitioner will design an individualized treatment plan for you. If you are interested in treating your rheumatoid arthritis naturally without side effects, ask your health practitioner.

References:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/rheumatoid-arthritis/DS00020/DSECTION=4

http://www.arthritis.org/disease-center.php?disease_id=31&df=treatments

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/rheumatoidarthritis.html

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