What’s Rheumatoid Arthritis?
What causes RA?
The cause of RA is unknown, but certain risk factors have been identified. You may be at increased risk if:
- you are a woman
- you have a family history of RA
- have been exposed to certain types of bacteria, such as those associated with periodontal disease
- you have a history of viral infections like infection with the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mononucleosis
- you had trauma or injury, such as bone breakage or fracture, dislocation of a joint, and ligament damage
- you smoke
- you are obese
Types of RA include:
- Seropositive RA: This means you have the antibodies that cause your immune system to attack your joints.
- Seronegative RA: There are symptoms but you test negative for antibodies that cause your immune system to attack your joints. You may eventually develop antibodies, changing your diagnosis to seropositive RA.
- JIA (juvenile idiopathic arthritis): Juvenile idiopathic arthritis refers to RA in people younger than 17 years of age. The condition was previously known as JRA (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis). The symptoms are the same as other types of RA, but they may also include eye inflammation and physical development issues.
Seropositive RA is the most common type of RA. This type of arthritis may run in families. Seropositive RA may come with more severe symptoms than seronegative RA and may include: