What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
This specific form of arthritis is called rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, for short. This is an autoimmune disorder that can commonly affect the joints of the hands and feet. While genetics seem to play a role in the development of this condition, other things may cause you to be more likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. For instance, smoking has been shown to more than double the chances you’ll get this disease. Another risk factor for developing rheumatoid arthritis is your sex. It seems that women are two to three times more likely to develop this condition than men, although the exact reason for this is unclear.
What we do know about RA is that there are antibodies that trigger an inflammatory response by reacting and attaching to an individual’s own body’s proteins. These antibodies are called autoantibodies. They are produced by cells of your immune system known as B-cells, which are in turn activated by T-cells. APCA and rheumatoid factor are two types of autoantibodies commonly detected in the blood of rheumatoid arthritis patients.
The autoantibodies trigger the inflammatory response to occur wherever they lodge or attach to. In our case, the place that is most affected by these autoantibodies initially is the synovial membrane of a joint. The synovial membrane is a thin membrane that combines with the fibrous membrane to form the joint capsule.