Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the more than a hundred types of arthritis out there. It is characterized by the inflammation of the joints, causing pain, swelling, deformity and immobility. This debilitating, chronic and progressive disease usually affects the ankles, wrists and fingers, although it can affect other joints as well.

This article will focus on rheumatoid arthritis’ common risk factors — things that can increase an individual’s risk of suffering from or developing a medical condition.

Some risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis can be changed such as cigarette smoking and eating habits. Unfortunately, some of them cannot be changed — age, gender, family history and others.

Do take note that just because you have some of the risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t mean right away that you will battle the degenerative joint disease one day. A lot of people out there with the risk factors do not suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

Similarly, refrain from assuming that you are not going to wake up one day with rheumatoid arthritis just because you have none of its risk factors. There are some rheumatoid arthritis suffers that had none of the risk factors before diagnosis.

So without further ado, let’s take a quick look at some of the risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis:

Age

Health authorities say that any person at any age can suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is more commonly seen in older individuals. It’s for the fact that one’s risk of having rheumatoid arthritis increases with age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, the various signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis tend to show up when the person is in his or her 60s.

Family History

If you have an immediate family member who has rheumatoid arthritis, there is a possibility that you will battle the same joint disease one day. Needless to say, rheumatoid arthritis tends to run in families. Experts would like to make it clear that having other risk factors can make someone with a family history of rheumatoid arthritis likelier to develop it.

Gender

Your gender is also regarded as a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis. While it’s true that it can affect men and women alike, doctors say that rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than in men. In fact, they say that women are 2 to 3 times more likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. So what’s the reason behind this medical fact? Well, the next risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis will explain that.

Hormonal Changes

Based on numerous scientific investigations, hormones may be a role player in the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Since women are more likely to have hormone-related issues, they tend to suffer more from rheumatoid arthritis than men. Menopause is something that can cause significant changes in the levels of hormones in a woman’s body, and that’s why menopausal women are likely to encounter the progressive issue concerning the joints.

Smoking

If you’re a smoker, then you are at high risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Smoking can also make some of the drugs recommended for the management of rheumatoid arthritis less effective. By the way, smoking can increase your odds of battling not only rheumatoid arthritis, but also so many other health-related concerns.

Diet

According to studies, there are substances in some foods that can cause rheumatoid arthritis to strike. Back in January 2018, researchers identified a form of bacteria in some milk and beef that may trigger rheumatoid arthritis in individuals who are predisposed to develop it.

Obesity

There are many different health nightmares that can strike as a result of being obese or overweight, and rheumatoid arthritis is one of those. It’s for the fact that all of those extra pounds can cause hormonal imbalance and inflammation. By the way, the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can worsen if the person who has it is obese or overweight.

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