What Are The Causes Of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Dr. Lewis Rosenbaum answers the question: 'Causes Of Rheumatoid Arthritis?'

ByABC News
November 21, 2008, 10:18 AM

— -- Question: What are the causes of rheumatoid arthritis?

Answer: The cause of rheumatoid arthritis to this point is unknown, but a number of hypotheses have been put forward. And basically, you could sum it up as a case of mistaken identity. Certain people have certain types of immune systems that they have on a genetic basis, and, if these individuals come into contact with some environmental trigger, that produces rheumatoid arthritis. We think that the environmental trigger is probably a bacteria or virus, maybe even a childhood virus or some common bacteria that they were colonized with it.

That is, they're not infected with it, but they carried it in their mouth or their intestinal tract, and it's the interaction between this bacteria or virus, which the body thinks that it's becoming infected with, that creates an immune response, fighting an infection that really doesn't exist, and it's this constant turmoil in the immune system that begets the inflammation of the joints and the other inflammation in the system.

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