As mysterious as the causes of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are,
there are a number of clear risk factors that increase a person's chance of
Women account for roughly 70 percent of all RA sufferers,
making them far more likely than men to be diagnosed with the disease.
The majority of all RA diagnoses happen between ages 40 and
60. Some people do develop RA as children or as younger adults, but this is
If a member of your family has RA, you are more likely to be
diagnosed as well. Rheumatoid arthritis is not an inherited condition like some
other genetic diseases, but it is thought that genetics affect a person's
susceptibility to RA.
Cigarette smokers are more
likely than nonsmokers to develop RA. Smokers who are diagnosed also tend to
have more severe symptoms and are more difficult to treat effectively. However,
quitting smoking reduces these risks.