If you have seen some of your family members suffering from arthritis, you may wonder: “Is arthritis hereditary?”. When we know how debilitating this disease can be, we seek a true answer to that important question. By seeing things coming, we can act now to improve our general health and prevent any future deterioration. So, let’s find out if arthritis is hereditary and if so, what would that mean for you.
Arthritis and genetics
Like many human conditions, most forms of arthritis and other rheumatic diseases have genetic components. Each disease, however, has its own unique degree and pattern of heredity, as well as different genes which influence not only susceptibility to, but also severity of the disease.
What are genes?
To make things very simple, lets see the genes as pieces of code that will determine one of your physical or personality traits. For each trait is associated a pair of genes, as we inherit one from each of our parents. For example, we have a pair of genes that codes for our eye color, another for our hair color, etc.
What are their role in the transmission of arthritis?
- For a category of hereditary diseases, called unifactorial diseases, the passing of an abnormal gene or pair of genes by one or both parents will result in the child getting the condition.
- As for the other category, the multifactorial diseases, the illness is the result of a complex interaction between multiple genes and environmental factors such as age, gender, or nutrition.
The majority of diseases, including most forms of arthritis, are thought to have multifactorial causes.
What does it mean for you?
If one of your parent as arthritis or a rheumatic disorder, chances are you will inherit a certain predisposition to the disease, but you may not develop it if you didn’t get all the faulty genes or if the environmental factors are different.
So, what happens now?
You can get different reactions when you learn that a disease that runs in your family has a certain degree of heredity. One could get very anxious, worrying all the time and watching for any warning symptoms. On the contrary, one could be in denial, putting this taught far behind. Then, another person could see that fact as an opportunity. Some consider knowledge as the key to empowerment, and this is definitively the mindset that can get someone through any difficulty.
Now, you know that you could be at risk of developing a particular disease. But you also learned in this article that environmental factors play an important role in the onset of a disease, so you can act now on some of these factors! That way you could totally avoid the disease, retard its onset or at least lower its severity. In any cases, it is better than doing nothing about it!
In this article, we answered the question “Is arthritis hereditary?”
You learned that:
- Each rheumatic disease has its own specific cause(s), including a certain inherited background.
- Rheumatoid diseases are caused by the interaction of multiple genes and environmental factors.
With that new understanding of arthritis, you can start to act now to improve your general health!
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