Rheumatoid arthritis is the result of genetic susceptibility combined with various environmental factors. In almost every case, patients will have at least one of these environmental factors.
At first, researchers noticed that patients that had a family history of rheumatoid arthritis had a higher risk of developing the disease themselves, this thing pointing to a familial link.
Due to the introduction of new technology, scientists managed to identify several genes that are believed to be responsible for an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. It Is actually believed that several genetic markers are responsible for various types of arthritis.
The gene with the most predominant genetic risk factor when it comes to the development of RA is HLA-DRB1. The gene has many variations, some of them being linked to an increased risk of RA. Another gene linked to higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis is the protein tyrosine phosphatase 22 (PTPN22). The problem with PTPN22 is that it is yet unclear how it influences the disease.
There are more genetic markers that still need to be identified in order to better understand the development of the disease.
Women are more affected by rheumatoid arthritis than men. The fact that the disease goes into remission during pregnancy suggest that hormones influence the disease in a certain way. It is believed that prolactin, the hormone responsible for the production of milk, can cause rheumatoid arthritis and also enhance the inflammation.
Furthermore, young women who have taken the contraceptive pill have double the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis than those who haven’t taken it.
Recent researches have demonstrated that there is no infection or agent that can cause rheumatoid arthritis. Despite this, many of cases had a recent infection and this is why it is believed that the immune system’s response to various infections may cause arthritis symptoms.
In some rare cases, the immunization can cause RA, which results by infecting yourself deliberately via vaccination.
People who already suffer from an autoimmune disease are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, due to the fact that there are similarities in the pathology of the conditions.
People who have been smoking for a long period of time have a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis and it’s progression can be influenced by it.
It is hard for a patient to stop smoking due to the fact that it can help with some of the symptoms such as tenderness and pain. Unfortunately, patients that continue to smoke can develop an extra-articular disease.
Some elements of your daily diet can have a negative impact and increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. People who eat red meat and foods with low vitamin C and vitamin A are more likely to develop RA.