Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Has Genetic Footprints?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a type of arthritis affecting joints on both sides of the body. This symmetry sets it apart from other types of arthritis.
Doctors call rheumatoid arthritis an autoimmune condition, where the body’s immune system starts attacking its cells, tissues and organs. This uncharacteristic and uncontrolled response of the immune system causes inflammation in the lining of joints, and as a result, joints may become swollen, turn warm and painful.
Over the years, several clinical studies and researches have been conducted to understand what triggers the onset of rheumatoid arthritis in individuals. Where environmental factors have been found to play a major role in the development of the condition, genes too have been validated for playing their part.
The role of genetics in rheumatoid arthritis
Gene studying technologies have identified a set of genes that increases the risks of rheumatoid arthritis. However, it must be noted that not everyone with these genes has the condition.
The main genes of the RA set include:
- HLA: This gene is responsible for distinguishing between your body’s native proteins and proteins of the infecting organisms.
- PTPN22: This gene plays a significant role in the onset of RA and its progression.
- STAT4: This gene is responsible for activating and regulating the immune system.
- TRAF1 and C5: This gene plays a role in chronic inflammation.
So, does that mean rheumatoid arthritis can be inherited?
The inheritance patterns of rheumatoid arthritis are so far unclear. There have been cases where we have seen RA run in families, and many more cases where the condition has not been found to affect the generational offspring.
But at the same time, it’s clear that an individual’s genetic makeup can increase their chances of developing the disease.
So, it won’t be right to call rheumatoid arthritis a purely hereditary disease just yet.
Are you suffering from rheumatoid arthritis?
Many a times people confuse normal joint pain or swelling with rheumatoid arthritis. If you’re unsure about your condition, look for the following symptoms (along with joint pain or swelling):
- Frequent fever breakouts
- Weight loss
- Lung inflammation
- Eye inflammation
You must also consult your doctor for a complete diagnosis.
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