Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Hereditary (Can It Run in Families)?

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If you ask whether or not this systemic inflammatory arthritis can run in families, the answer yes it could.

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But again, although some members of the same family can have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the likelihood and tendency to pass the disease from parent to child are weak. Some studies into this issue continue!

According to Arthritis Research UK, the chance for a parent with RA to pass the disease to their child is only about 1-3 percent. In other words, if the inherited genetic factor does have a role, it only plays a small role.

Even if you are genetically prepositioned to RA, you still have greater chance to not develop it. Experts believe that something else needs to occur to trigger the disease – these could be environmental triggers such as viral infection or bad lifestyles (smoking, for example).

What else?

Several members of your extended family may have some types of arthritis. But you should not worry since for most arthritis types (including RA), the chance to pass the disease from one family member to another (such as from a parent to a child) is small!

Furthermore RA itself can affect pregnancy (see more in here), but fortunately many parents with it are also successful to have a healthy baby. So even though you have RA, this should not affect the decision to have children with your partner!

Another good news fact, the most common form of arthritis (osteoarthritis or OA) is usually not passed on from parent to child. External factors (like obesity and injury) have a more important role in causing OA. See also the differences between RA and OA in this section!

If you do worry about this issue, you may want to consider taking a genetic counseling. A trained counselor can help give more support emotionally. In this counseling, you can discuss any worries that you have!

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