Why is Rheumatoid Arthritis More Prevalent in Women?

Elderly woman having knee painRheumatoid arthritis affects two to three times as many women as men. But why does this arthritic disorder disproportionately affect women?

RA is an Autoimmune Condition

Rheumatoid arthritis starts when the immune system attacks the body tissues it’s supposed to protect. The attack leads to inflammation in the lining of the joints.

Women are More Prone to Autoimmune Conditions

Women have a higher chance of developing autoimmune diseases. Exactly why many autoimmune disorders display a distinct imbalance between the sexes is not clear. However, the following factors could be reasons for the over representation of women:

1.    Robust Immunity in Women

Compared to men, women tend to mount a more robust immune response to vaccinations and infections. Unfortunately, the production of a higher level of antibodies can backfire. Women may be more resistant to infections but they may also be at more risk for immune system problems.

Autoimmune diseases may result if too much immunity is directed toward self.

2.    Genetic Factors

Some research has suggested that X-chromosome specific genes may play a role in enhancing the risk for RA. Women have a pair of X chromosomes and men have one Y and one X chromosome. The extra X chromosome may mean more women in need of rheumatoid arthritis care in Boise than men.

Institutions such as RedRiver Health and Wellness Center can help you.

3.    Hormonal Factors

Sex hormones may also influence the development and severity of autoimmune conditions. RA often happens when women are in their middle ages. Breastfeeding seems to reduce the risk of developing RA. Pregnancy often improves RA symptoms.

While it’s not clear how female hormones influence RA, estrogen and prolactin seem to stimulate the growth of certain antibodies. These female hormones may affect RA through their influence on B cell autoantibodies.
About 1 percent of Americans have rheumatoid arthritis. Anyone can get this disease, age and gender notwithstanding. However, women are more likely than men to develop RA. Both the exact cause of RA and why RA is more common among women remain elusive.