Arthritis: Women more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis – other risk factors

Rheumatoid Arthritis: NHS on common signs and symptoms

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A number of factors can increase or decrease a persons’ risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, including their age.

The NHS says: “Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than men, which may be because of the effects of the hormone oestrogen, although this link has not been proven.”

Other risk factors include a person’s genes and how much they smoke.

Some evidence suggests rheumatoid arthritis runs in families and that smoking can increase a person’s risk.

Meanwhile, rheumatoid arthritis also has a number of symptoms; these mainly affect the joints.

It is possible for this form of arthritis to affect any joint in the body.

The condition normally affects them symmetrically, this means it affects joints on both sides of the body at the same time.

Symptoms of condition include:
• Pain in the joints
• Stiffness in the joints
• Swelling, warmth, and redness in the joints
• Tiredness
• Lack of energy
• High temperature
• Sweating
• Poor appetite
• Weight loss.

The inflammation resulting from rheumatoid arthritis can also cause dry eyes and chest pain in some circumstances.

If the disease isn’t controlled, rheumatoid arthritis can lead to a number of complications.

Such complications that can arise are carpal tunnel syndrome, widespread inflammation, joint damage, cardiovascular disease, and cervical myelopathy.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the nerve that controls sensation and movement in the hands.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are, say the NHS, aching, numbness, and tingling in the thumb, fingers, and part of the hand.

Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause inflammation in other areas of the body such as the lungs, heart, eyes, and blood vessels.

Inflammation of the lungs can result in symptoms such as:
• Chest pain
• A persistent cough
• Shortness of breath.

Cervical myelopathy is a condition that affects the top of the spine.

This complication can lead to dislocation to joints at the top of the spine, putting pressure on the spinal cord.

While this is uncommon, it can greatly affect a person’s mobility and lead to permanent damage.

For more information about arthritis contact the NHS or consult with your GP.

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