User's Manual: Joints

Coffee, Alcohol, and More That May Affect RA

There are other factors that may affect the risk of getting RA—and possibly the symptoms, if you already have it.
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Credit: Corbis

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Rheumatoid arthritis

by Tammy Worth

About 1.3 million Americans are affected by rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease thought to be caused by genetic and environmental factors.

Strong medication can help prevent joint destruction and painful symptoms.

But there are other things that may affect RA risk and symptoms. In the big picture, these play relatively minor roles in RA (compared to, say, taking the right medication).

Still, here are some factors to keep in mind.

Next: Smoking

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