What causes RA?

 At the moment, we don’t know the exact causes of RA. We know that it is an autoimmune disease – where the immune system aggressively targets the body’s healthy tissues and joints rather than germs and viruses. When the immune system targets healthy joints, the joints can become stiff and inflamed and cause pain.

Research to date suggests that certain genes in our body, which play a part in the immune system, are linked with RA. Having these genes doesn’t mean you will definitely get RA, but it means you might have a tendency to develop it.

Researchers now think that something must trigger RA in people who have a tendency to develop it. There is no real evidence yet as to what those triggers are, but it’s thought they might include stress, an infection or virus, smoking, or hormonal changes in your body.