Arthritis: Types And Symptoms
When we hear the word arthritis, most of us think of osteoarthritis , the most common type that happens a lot more often as we get older. But arthritis actually includes more than 100 conditions that cause joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain.
OA happens when years of joint use cause your joint surfaces to slowly wear away. The second most common type of arthritis rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that develops when your immune system mistakenly attacks your joint lining.
Other types of arthritis include:
- Reactive arthritis, caused by an infection in another body part
- Gout, associated with a buildup of uric acid
- Psoriatic arthritis, associated with the skin condition psoriasis
- Lupus, another type of autoimmune disease
- Ankylosing spondylitis , a kind of arthritis that affects your spine
Researchers are still learning more about arthritis, including how and why it occurs. What they do know is that many types of arthritis involve specific genes that may only become active when acted upon by outside environmental triggers.
The Genetic Link Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
There are many suspected triggers for rheumatoid arthritis ranging from Vitamin D deficiency to the herpes virus. Two, however, stand out above the rest: smoking and genetics. Numerous studies have made the smoking/RA connection and it is now accepted that smokers, particularly heavy smokers, run three times the risk of developing RA that their non-smoking counterparts do.
As for genetics: the role they play in the development of RA is slowly coming into focus as data streams in from research studies worldwide. While there is still no way to conclusively say You have these genetic markers therefore you will develop RA the role genes play in both susceptibility and development of the disease is far better understood than it was even 20 years ago. Examples:
Genetic research holds perhaps the best chance at finally unravelling the puzzle of rheumatoid arthritis but there are many people who have questions as to why governments around the world would spend so much time and energy focusing on the seemingly remote possibility that well find an RA gene and why they dont spend more money instead on developing more effective and affordable everyday treatments.
The fact is the potential benefits of genetic research into rheumatoid arthritis could revolutionize our entire understanding and approach to the disease. Some of the potential benefits include:
S To Prevent Arthritis
Despite this link between genes and arthritis risk, doctors very rarely give patients a genetic test. There are so many factors in making an arthritis diagnosissymptom analysis, physical exam, medical history, blood teststhat the presence or absence of a gene marker is just not enough information to confirm whether someone has arthritis.
However, you can take steps to improve your chances of delaying or avoiding the symptoms of arthritisespecially if you suspect that you have extra hereditary risk:
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The Most Common Type: Osteoarthritis
Easily the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis can cause inflammation and damage to joints when cartilage that covers the ends of bones degenerate.
There are hereditary forms of osteoarthritis that are caused by mutations in genes for collagen.
This type of osteoarthritis can first appear at a young age, quickly causing severe damage, though not very common. Around 40 to 65% of osteoarthritis has a genetic component, with a stronger link for hand and hip cases.
Dr. Syed assures that there is not a singular gene that causes cases of osteoarthritis. Multiple genes are involved, he comments. The influence of other factors, such as obesity, joint injuries, aging and joint anatomy, also is quite substantial.
Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Hereditary Or Is It Something Else
In conclusion, genetics do influence the likelihood of getting rheumatoid arthritis but over 100 places on our DNA are involved. The genes that show are highly variable and many factors can influence the genes that show including an individuals microbiome.
Gut bacteria have been studied extensively enough to prove that they play a crucial role in disease onset, severity, and response to treatment.
So, if the microbiome is such a big player in rheumatoid arthritis, what goes wrong and what can we do to help our microbiome and therefore our outcomes? Well, we need to observe, unpack, anddigest!
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Do My Genes Put Me At Risk For Arthritis
Perhaps your mother has trouble gardening now because of the rheumatoid arthritis in her hands. Or maybe your brother is recovering from a knee arthroscopyfor the second time.
In addition to your concern for family members with arthritis, you may be wondering if you should be concerned for yourself as well. Are you destined to have arthritis, just like them?
Unfortunately, arthritis can run in the family. But there are ways to counteract elevated risk.Osteoarthritis and Your Genes
The answer is complicated:
Your genes can raise your risk for arthritis, but that doesn’t automatically sentence you to a future that includes arthritis.
What Does It Mean If One Of Your Family Members Has Ra
According to the American College of Rheumatology, studies done on identical twins who share 100 percent of their genes indicate that, while genetics slightly increase the risk of getting RA, numerous other variables most likely play a stronger role.
Among the twins studied, the likelihood of one twin having RA was 15 percent if the other one had it. In comparison, 4 percent of non-identical twins studied both had RA. Your chance of getting RA is maybe 1 percent in the general population and roughly 3 percent to 5 percent if your parent has it.
The upshot here is that 85 percent of the risk of developing RA has nothing to do with genetics, explains Bykerk.
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What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis
Although the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, researchers speculate a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors may play a key role in the development of RA. Infection, smoking, or physical or emotional stress may also act as triggering factors.
- RA is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system attacks the body’s tissues and organs.
- The immune system triggers abnormal inflammation in the synovium, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joint.
- In severe cases, the inflammation can affect the bone, cartilage, and other tissues within the joint, causing serious damage.
- The most significant genetic risk factor for RA is variations in human leukocyte antigen genes, especially the HLA-DRB1 gene.
- The proteins produced from HLA genes help the immune system distinguish the body’s proteins from proteins made by foreign invaders .
- Although the mechanism is unclear, certain factors that may trigger the condition in people who are at risk include changes in sex hormones , occupational exposure to dust or fibers, viral, or bacterial infections, and long-term smoking.
Genetic Correlation With Other Conditions
Interestingly, there also is evidence that children of parents with rheumatoid arthritis have a 30% increased risk of developing autism or autism spectrum disorder . Both maternal and paternal RA were associated with an increased risk of ASD, suggesting that genetic factors are associated with both the etiology of both RA and ASD . Therefore, there is some evidence that there is a rheumatoid arthritis hereditary issue.
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At What Age Does Osteoarthritis Begin
Typically, OA risk increases with age and appears most often in individuals over the age of 50. However, it can appear in younger individuals, particularly after a bone fracture or a cartilage or ligament tear.
Some people may have OA in a single joint, but it may progress to involve other joints, such as the spine, neck, and wrists.
While doctors do not fully understand why this happens, it is possible that the pain from OA causes the individual to move differently, which then forces the joints out of alignment.
no cure . This condition worsens over time and can cause significant difficulty in mobility.
If a person has individuals in their family with OA, it does not mean they will also develop the condition. that the heritability of OA is around:
- 40% for the knee
- 60% for the hip
- 70% for the spine
Researchers do not fully understand the link between OA and life expectancy. In some cases, OA of the knee or hip may an individuals life expectancy, but this is potentially due to pain, difficulty in mobility, and other health conditions.
Other types of OA, such as OA of the hand,
What Does It Mean If Your Family Member Has Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society , first-degree relatives of a person with RA are three times more likely to develop the condition than first-degree relatives of people who dont have RA.
According to NRAS, about 15% of identical twins are likely to develop RA. In fraternal twins, who have different genes like other siblings, the number is 4%.
two to three times more likely to develop RA than people assigned male at birth.
People assigned female at birth who have RA usually receive a diagnosis between ages 30 and 60. Researchers attribute this number to female hormones that may contribute to developing RA.
People assigned male at birth usually receive a diagnosis later, after the age of 45, and the overall risk increases with age.
Is Osteoarthritis Hereditary
People who have family members with it are more likely to develop it.vi Researchers have recently discovered multiple genes that contribute to osteoarthritis. Between 40 to 65% of instances of osteoarthritis have a genetic component.v
Some other risk factors for OA include:ix
- Joint injury and overuse. Repeated blows or other trauma to the joint can cause damage and lead to OA.
- Age. The older you get, the more likely you are to get OA.
- Gender. Women are more likely to develop OA than men.
- Weight. Being overweight or obese can put added stress on the joints such as the hips and knees, which can lead to OA.
Arthritis & Family History
In this section, we will go over the tie between arthritis and family history. Firstly, the research that has been done presents clear evidence that there is a connection between family history and arthritis. Secondly, family history and genetics can make you more susceptible to environmental factors that can trigger arthritis. While risk factors may seem higher when a family member has arthritis, most diseases arent determined by genetic makeup alone.
There is no substitute for professional medical advice when you begin to see the signs and symptoms of arthritis. However, there are preventative resources and exercises you can take advantage of.
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Other Types Of Arthritis
Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that inflames the joints around your spine, hips, and pelvis. Thereâs no cure, but your doctor can help you manage your symptoms, which can be somewhat different in each person.
Like RA, symptoms tend to flare up and then get better for a while before they return. Serious pain and stiffness in the lower back and hips are quite common. Other symptoms could include:
- Back pain and stiffness, especially in early morning
- Joint pain and stiffness in hips or even feet, knees, and shoulders
- Gut pain and diarrhea
- Posture that stoops forward to relieve pain
- Difficulty taking a deep breath of air
AS symptoms can mimic other health conditions, so itâs important to see your doctor for a correct diagnosis.
Gout happens when a waste product called uric acid builds up in the blood and crystallizes in and around the joints, typically the great toe but also the ankle, foot joints, elbows, wrists, and knees. Most commonly it suddenly causes a painful and swollen joint. Your doctor can help you treat an attack with rest and medication. Some drugs, as well as better diet and exercise habits, can reduce future attacks and other problems linked to gout by lowering the level of uric acid in the blood.
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis comes in many forms. Still’s disease affects the whole body. It often causes daily fevers and low blood counts . It sometimes also affects the heart, lungs, eyes, and nervous system.
Risk Factors You Can Control
What can you do to lower your risk of arthritis? Consider taking these steps.
- Lose Weight: Extra body weight places more stress on the large joints like the hips, knees, and ankles. Individuals who are overweight are more likely to develop premature osteoarthritis. Excess weight can also exacerbate symptoms of pre-existing arthritis. Maintaining a healthy weight can help you prevent arthritis.
- Address Health Concerns Immediately: Injuries and illness can actually increase your risk of developing arthritis. Unaddressed joint injuries can go on to cause the cartilage to deteriorate faster. Illness can cause joints to become infected with bacteria. Both of these problems are quite serious, so seek medical care immediately if you are injured or ill.
- Stop Smoking: Study after study has shown that smoking creates additional risk for rheumatoid arthritis and can worsen the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Smokers tend to experience more cartilage loss and struggle with joint swelling in a way nonsmokers simply dont.
- Be Careful at Work: There are certain occupations that involve repetitive squatting and knee bending. That repetitive stress on a single joint creates a risk of developing arthritis later in life. Prevent the problem by using the right equipment and tools at work.
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Subdue Inflammation And Pain
If you do have arthritis or suffer from joint pain, we may recommend medications or treatments that prevent arthritis from getting worse.
You may also be a candidate for regenerative therapies, such as platelet-rich plasma , which help your body repair synovial tissue and cartilage and subdue inflammation.
Dont worry about arthritis. Prevent it and treat it. If you think you have arthritis or are at risk for it, contact us at the office nearest you in Somerville, Flemington, or Monroe, New Jersey for relief.
Which Genes Are Responsible For Increasing The Risk Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Many genes are involved in making individuals more likely to develop RA. Each gene contributes a small amount to the overall risk of developing the disease. The genes involved appear to vary between individuals and between populations in different parts of the world. To date, most work has been done by looking at the genetic markers associated with RA in people of European ancestry.
Finding genes that might increase the risk of developing RA, when they only have a small effect on that risk, is difficult, but much progress has been made. This has been made possible by two important developments. The first is the advances in technology, which have made it possible to test a large proportion of the genome relatively quickly and affordably in large numbers of individuals. The second is the large number of patient and healthy control samples that have been donated by patients and collected by researchers collaborating in different parts of the world.
The main method used to identify genes associated with the development of RA has been to look at differences in genetic markers between many thousands of people with and without RA. When there is a larger difference in the proportion of people with and without RA that have the genetic markers than you would expect to find, these markers are said to associate with RA. The largest genetic study in this area has identified 101 genetic areas that associate with RA.
Linking Joint Pain And Genetics
With joint pain being extremely common, especially in sports medicine, it is important to understand that joint pain could be the result of an inherited condition. Understanding the genetic causes of joint pain could aid in prevention and treatment techniques of arthritic conditions. Lets discuss the two most common types of arthritis and how a genetic predisposition could be behind them.
Why Is It Important To Identify The Genes That Are Involved With Ra
There are a number of reasons why it is important to identify the individual genes involved in RA development, RA severity, and responses to RA treatments. These include:
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