Scientific research shows that either a disorder in the body’s immune system or an overreaction to an unknown trigger like a virus infection can set off the condition. Once mobilised, the immune system targets the body’s own cells – hence the term “autoimmune disease”.
In the case of Rheumatoid Arthritis, the synovial membrane that covers the joints becomes the target of the immune system, leading eventually to the destruction of the bone and cartilage of the joints. The visible swelling and tenderness of the joints are due to increased fluid in the joint cavity and the thickening of the lining of the joint capsule, the results of on-going inflammation.
A family history with Rheumatoid Arthritis and environmental factors such as smoking are the risk factors.