Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Causes of

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is caused because the body’s immune system attacks the body’s cells thinking them to be foreign cells. The immune system attacks the lining of the membrane of the joints. As a result, this membrane (synovial membrane) gets inflamed and what we see externally, is joint swelling.  

Genetic component is believed to play a role in rheumatoid arthritis besides other theories about certain viruses or bacteria causing autoimmune responses.1

Immune system
Cigarette smoking

Cigarette smoking is said to be the strongest environmental risk factor associated with rheumatoid arthritis. There is an interaction between genes and smoking that increases the risk of RA.2

References –

  1. [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Rheumatoid arthritis: Overview. 2013 Oct 23 [Updated 2016 Aug 11]. Available from:
  2. Chauhan K, Jandu JS, Goyal A, et al. Rheumatoid Arthritis. [Updated 2020 Feb 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: