The Link Between Environmental Factors, Hormones, and RA

Environmental Factors
As with other autoimmune diseases, many scientists think that something must occur to trigger the disease process in people whose genetic makeup makes them susceptible to rheumatoid arthritis. A viral or bacterial infection appears likely, but the exact agent is not yet known. Given that rheumatoid arthritis occurs all over the world, it is thought that this organism must be everywhere. Scientists have studied bacteria such as mycoplasmas, as well as viruses such as cytomegalovirus, parvovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, and the rubella virus. However, to date there have been no convincing data to show that these viruses can cause rheumatoid arthritis.
Also, keep in mind that this does not mean that rheumatoid arthritis is contagious; a person cannot catch the disease from someone else.
Some scientists also think that a variety of hormonal factors may be a possible rheumatoid arthritis cause. This is based on the fact that women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men, pregnancy may improve the disease, and the disease may flare after a pregnancy. Hormones, or possibly deficiencies or changes in certain hormones, may promote the development of rheumatoid arthritis in a genetically susceptible person who has been exposed to a triggering agent from the environment.

Final Thoughts on the Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes

Even though researchers do not have all the answers or know the exact cause or causes of rheumatoid arthritis, one thing is certain: rheumatoid arthritis develops due to a combination of many factors. Researchers are trying to understand these factors and how they work together.
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