Rheumatoid Arthritis: More Common In Women Than In Men

There are many risk factors associated with rheumatoid arthritis. One of these risk factors happens to be gender. It is true that rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than men. However, there are many other risk factors that also contribute to the development of the condition rheumatoid arthritis.

Age

The development of the condition rheumatoid arthritis most commonly occurs between the ages of 40 - 60. However, it can develop at any age, including older adults and children. When the condition occurs in children, it is known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Family History

Rheumatoid arthritis is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Therefore, the development of the condition rheumatoid arthritis is much more likely if you have a family history of the disease. However, the majority of physicians and scientists do not believe that rheumatoid arthritis is directly inherited. Instead, a predisposition for the development of the disease is inherited.

Gender

The development of the condition rheumatoid arthritis is nearly 2 - 3 times more likely in women than in men. It is not understood why women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men. However, research continues in this area and there are several theories that exist. The most prominent theory about the development of rheumatoid arthritis being more common in women is associated with changes in the levels of sex hormones, including estrogen and progesterone. These sex hormones have critical roles in the inflammatory response, and in the overall regulation of the immune system.

Smoking

The development of rheumatoid arthritis is more likely in smokers than in non-smokers. However, studies have shown that quitting smoking can decrease the overall risk for development of the disease. Not only is smoking correlated with an increased risk for the development of rheumatoid arthritis, but is also associated with the development of many other life threatening conditions.

How Common is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Approximately 2 million Americans are affected by rheumatoid arthritis. This is approximately 1% of the total adult population in the United States. While this may seem like a rather low percentage, the development of rheumatoid arthritis is completely dependent upon individual factors, including genetics and environment. This is one reason why it is necessary to know and understand the risk factors associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a very complex disease associated with impaired immune system functioning, as it is an autoimmune disease. Rheumatoid arthritis has no known cure. However, the disease can typically be managed if detected and effectively treated during the early stages of development. Due to this fact, it is important to understand the risk factors for the development of the disease and to provide your physician with a complete and accurate family history. This ensures that the diagnosis of any dangerous medical condition be completed in a timely manner, so treatments can begin sooner. Typically, the sooner treatments begin; the more effective they are.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/tc/rheumatoid-arthritis-overview

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/basics/definition/con-20014868

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