Stress increases risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), said Dr Anil Abrol, consultant, Eheumatology, Fortis Hospital SAS Nagar, on Wednesday.
Dr Abrol was talking about 'Link between Stressful Conditions and Rheumatoid Arthritis' at the Chandigarh Press Club.
According to the expert, "In today's stressful life, certain conditions such as conflict at work, change of residence, workplace, increased responsibility at work are also associated with an increased risk of developing RA."
He explained that long exposure to stress could alter the immune system and eventually cause increased vulnerability to the disease.
The doctor added that RA was a systemic autoimmune disease which caused chronic inflammation in joints. "This leads to swelling, pain, stiffness and redness in the joints. Inflammation can also occur in tissues around the joints, such as the tendons, ligaments, and muscles. This can cause damage to the joint, pain, disability, and reduced life expectancy. In some people with rheumatoid arthritis, chronic
inflammation leads to the destruction of cartilage, bone, and ligaments, causing deformity of the joints."
Nearly two-third people with arthritis were younger than 65. "Osteoarthritis is the commonest form of arthritis and it usually starts at the age of 60,"Dr Abrol added.