As people age, they become more exposed and at risks of getting ailments. Bone conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis are common among older people. This condition is an inflammation in the joints. Unlike wear and tear types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition which happens when the immune system attacks the joint linings called synovium, severely affecting the joints and tissues.
The inflammation will result to the thickening of the synovium. After such, the synovium at some time will invade the cartilages and bones between joints and could eventually destroy them. This would then result to the weakening and stretching of the structures the tendons and ligaments which provide link to the joints. The process could ultimately lead to the deterioration of the shape and alignment of the bonesA perplexing fact about rheumatoid arthritis is its unknown exact cause. Medical experts do not absolutely know what sets off the attack to the immune system. But what they got so far is genetics combined with environmental triggers as the main causes of rheumatoid arthritis.
Trigger Agents of Rheumatoid Arthritis
It has been believed by researchers that genetic factors play some part in rheumatoid arthritis. Its role could either be by increasing the susceptibility to environmental factors or by making the condition of the disease worse. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) are found as the genetic markers linked with rheumatoid arthritis These do not really cause rheumatoid arthritis but is believed to worsen the developed disease. Those who have the specific HLA for rheumatoid arthritis have greater risks for the disease.
- Environmental Factors
Theoretically, virus and bacteria could also trigger the disease. As of now, none of the many microorganisms that have been studied have been proven to set off the attack of the immune system.
Potential rheumatoid arthritis triggers include parvovirus B19, Mycoplasma, mycobacteria, Epstein-Barr virus and retroviruses. Higher levels of antibodies that react with E. coli have also been found in the synovial fluid of affected people, and this, researchers believe what prolongs the disease once developed.
- Hormonal Factors
The disease has been found to be more prevalent in women than men with 70% of women being affected by it. Some research says that the female hormone estrogen could be one of the causes of rheumatoid arthritis as it may play a part in the development and progress of the disease. But then again, that is only hypothetical as it is not yet scientifically proven. It has also been seen that women who have recently given birth and those who have never been pregnant are at higher risks of getting rheumatoid arthritis.
There are also evidences to prove that smokers have greater chances of developing the disease as well as with persons whose regular alcohol intake is greater than recommended.