Why Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect Young People?

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can lead to disability or even fatality if it is not well controlled. Although it is relatively more common in the ages of 40 to 60, but in fact it can affect people of all ages, including young people. And there are some possible reasons of why it occurs too early?

It is not only about joint disease!

RA is one of top leading causes of disability. But this is not the end of story. At advanced stage, the disease can lead to damage outside of the joint.

image_illustration308The effect of inflammatory process in RA can be systemic. So, it is not only about the inflammation in the joint. It can affect your overall health!

Though RA is a common arthritis, but so far it’s not fully understood yet. It also still has no cure. But thankfully, there are now some medications that can control it better.

Even some medications are helpful enough to make it go into remission. On the other hand, more flares of RA can carry the risk of a significant damage to the joint and increase the risk of other serious complications (like heart disease, problems of lungs, osteoporosis, eye diseases, and carpal tunnel syndrome).

How do you get this inflammatory joint disease?

The exactly answer of how RA occurs is not known yet. Though it is clear that the disease is linked to the abnormality of immune system, but no one knows why the immune system attacks its own healthy tissues (especially soft tissue surrounding the joint called synovium).

However, there are some theories. It’s thought that certain genes have a role to trigger the disease. If you have them, you will not definitely develop RA, but you are more likely to have the disease.

This inflammatory arthritis may run in families. Interestingly, most sufferers with the disease don’t have a family history of RA. It could run in families, but it is not similar to what happen in diabetes. See more this issue in here!

So the genetic trait is not the single reason. Other factors may be involved to trigger the disease. Unfortunately, these additional factors are not fully understood yet. They could be viral /bacterial infection, another chronic condition, or something else.

Gender and age have an effect, too. The disease can occur at any age (including in young people), but many times it starts to develop between 40 and 60 years of the age, as noted before.

And according to statistics, it occurs more often in women. Even it affects 2-3 times as many women as men.

How and why does RA affect young people?

The progression of inflammatory process may vary. But typically, RA begins over a period of weeks or even months, and followed by more joints involved over time. For in-depth information about the symptoms, see here!

Though RA is commonly found after the age of 30, but again it can occur in young people (before the age of 30). Even the chance for the disease to attack young adults may be more common than previously thought.

According to one study, about 1 out of 2,778 men have a chance to develop RA in 20s, and 1 out of 714 for women. It seems that the chance of the disease to affect young people is also greater in women.

It’s clear that RA is related to the abnormality of the body immune system. That’s why it is called rheumatoid condition.

But again, the exact cause of why the immune system goes awry and causes inflammation in the joint is not fully understood yet. The same thing goes for the answer of the increasing number of young patients with RA.

There is still no clearly answer of why and how RA affects young people. But in general, the common RA risk factors (as mentioned before) also have a role in affecting the risk of developing the disease at young ages.

Another factor such as smoking may increase the risk, too. This is particularly true in those who are already genetically susceptible to have rheumatoid conditions.


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