Causes Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Causes Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is among the painful diseases that can affect anybody. In fact, many people would go out of their way to prevent its onset especially if they know that a family member suffers from it. One way that you would be able to somehow arm yourself against the condition is to know the causes of rheumatoid arthritis.
According to NHS, rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that causes pain and swelling in the joints. Hands, feet and wrists are commonly affected, but it can also damage other parts of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis can make your joints feel stiff and can leave you feeling generally unwell and tired.
The condition is estimated to affect 400,000 people in England and Wales and occurs more frequently in women than men. It is most common between the ages of 40 and 70, but it can affect people of any age.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This is when your immune system, which usually fights infection, attacks the cells that line your joints, making them swollen, stiff and painful. Over time, this can damage the joint itself, the cartilage and nearby bone.
Indeed, more and more people are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis today. Below, you will find a list of causes of rheumatoid arthritis, provided by University of Maryland Medical Center.
The exact causes of rheumatoid arthritis are unknown. Rheumatoid arthritis is most likely triggered by a combination of factors, including an abnormal autoimmune response, genetic susceptibility, and some environmental or biologic trigger, such as a viral infection or hormonal changes.
The Immune Response and Inflammatory Process
The Normal Immune System Response. The inflammatory process is a byproduct of the activity of the body’s immune system, which fights infection and heals wounds and injuries:
- When an injury or an infection occurs, white blood cells are mobilized to rid the body of any foreign proteins, such as a virus.
- The masses of blood cells that gather at the injured or infected site produce factors to repair wounds, clot the blood, and fight any infections.
- In the process the surrounding area becomes inflamed and some healthy tissue is injured. The immune system is then called upon to repair wounds by clotting off any bleeding blood vessel and initiating fiber-like patches to the tissue.
- Under normal conditions, the immune system has other special factors that control and limit this inflammatory process.
Genetic factors may play some role in RA either in terms of increasing susceptibility to developing the condition or by worsening the disease process but are clearly not the only important factors. The main genetic marker identified with rheumatoid arthritis is HLA (human leukocyte antigen).
Infections. Although many bacteria and viruses have been studied, no single organism has been proven to be the primary trigger for the autoimmune response and subsequent damaging inflammation. Higher than average levels of antibodies that react with the common intestinal bacteria E. coli have appeared in the synovial fluid of people with RA. Some researchers think they may stimulate the immune system to prolong RA once the disease has been triggered by some other initial infection. Other potential triggers include Mycoplasma, parvovirus B19, retroviruses, mycobacteria, and Epstein-Barr virus.
Source: University of Maryland Medical Center
Learning about these causes of rheumatoid arthritis can greatly help you in overcoming the symptoms and free yourself from the pain.