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Rheumatoid Arthritis (cont.)

What Are Causes and Risk Factors of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known. Many risk factors are involved in the abnormal activity of the immune system that characterizes rheumatoid arthritis. These risk factors include genetics (inherited genes), hormones (explaining why the disease is more common in women than men), and possibly infection by a bacterium or virus. Other environmental factors known to increase the risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis include tobacco smoking, silica exposure, and periodontal (gum) disease.

Medical scientists have shown that alterations in the microbiome (altered levels of gut bacteria that normally inhabit the bowels) exist in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Emerging research shows that the microbiome has an enormous influence on our health, immune system, and many diseases, even those previously not directly linked to the gastrointestinal tract. Studies have shown different kinds of bacteria in the intestines of people with rheumatoid arthritis than in those who do not have rheumatoid arthritis. However, it remains unknown how this information can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment is probably not as simple as replacing missing bacteria, but this may explain why some individuals with rheumatoid arthritis feel better with various dietary modifications.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/21/2016

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA):

Rheumatoid Arthritis - Treatment

What was the treatment for your rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis - Medications

What medications have been effective at treating your rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis - Early Symptoms and Signs

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) - Diet

Have you made dietary changes that have improved your RA symptoms and signs? If so, please describe these changes.


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Rheumatoid Arthritis »

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic systemic inflammatory disease of unknown cause that primarily affects the peripheral joints in a symmetric pattern.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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