Is Rheumatoid Arthritis More Common in Women Than Men?

rheumatoid arthritis in women
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune system attacks healthy body tissues. This attack usually causes swelling, inflammation and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can last for a few months to a lifetime. The flare ups can be constant and in some cases occasionally then go into remission.

The stiffness is commonly experienced in the morning and can last for upto to two hours and in some cases it can last the whole day.

Other signs and symptoms of RA include:

  • Appetite loss
  • Loss of energy
  • Dryness of the eye and mouth
  • Hard lumps (rheumatoid nodules) which usually grow beneath the skin especially on the hands and elbow

The commonly affected joints are the thumb, the finger joints, wrist, ankle and the feet.

The knees are also affected but in fewer cases. The least commonly affected joints include the hips, the elbow, the neck and the shoulder.

Rheumatoid arthritis is symmetrical. This means if for example a finger joint in the left hand is affected the same finger joint in the right hand will be affected. In many cases, many joints are affected.

The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not yet known but infectious agents such as fungi, viruses and bacteria have been suspected to cause the disease. Upto today research scientists throughout the world are doing a research to try to know the cause of the disease.

Some research has shown that rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that can be passed from parent to child through genes. Some genes have been suspected to increase* the chances of developing RA. Some researchers have also shown that environmental factors and certain infections can trigger the development of the condition especially in people who have a family history of the disease.

In this case, the immune system attacks the healthy body tissues resulting to inflammation in the joints and in several other organs of the body. The immune cells (lymphocytes) become active and the messenger (cytokines) such as interleukin-1/IL-1, tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-6/IL-6 are a feature in the area of inflammation.

The environmental factor which are suspected to play a role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis such as smoking tobacco, chronic periodontal disease and silica mineral exposure.

Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than in men. Out of 1.3 million affected people in America more than half of them are women. Even though the symptoms experienced in men and women are the same, women have more painful experiences. Several studies have also indicated that rheumatoid arthritis can impair the quality of female more than male who suffer from the disease. The reason for this occurrence is not yet known but there are speculations that medicine used to treat* the disease affect men and women differently.

Other researches have shown that men who undergo rheumatism standard treatment experience significant improvement than women who undergo the same treatment especially in the degree of swelling and what they experience.

Research has also shown that there is also a significant difference in the subjective routine. Affected women fell sick even though the joints conditions were improving*.

Rheumatoid arthritis is also known to strike women in the prime time. It commonly affects women who are in their 30s and 40s.

According to some research, RA severely affects women bodies and psyches. The studies also show that women who have severe RA symptoms were less likely to experience the RA remission than men even after undergoing similar therapy.

Other reasons that have been linked to high rate of women having the RA are:

  • Pregnancy: Some researches indicate that pregnancy is one of the factors that are likely to cause the trend. Pregnancy put women at risk of getting autoimmune diseases such as lupus and RA
  • Body Size: Women have high chances of developing musculoskeletal diseases than men because they are physically small than men
  • Women Autoimmune System is Different From Men’s Autoimmune System: Women autoimmune system can sometimes allow autoimmune diseases in the body without attacking them. The lack of attack increases* the chances of women developing autoimmune diseases

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Author

Expert Author : Beth Solomon (Consumer Health Digest)

Beth Solomon has been writing articles on health for more than two years with a concentration on pain management and men’s and women’s health and fitness. She has been a contributing editor to Consumer Health Digest since 2013.