A certain type of bacteria found in cases of severe gum disease can trigger a large number of cases of rheumatoid arthritis, according to researchers.
Severe gum disease: It’s found in a third of the population
The bacteria, called Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, or A a, is found in about a third of the population. Researchers have found that 47% of patients that have rheumatoid arthritis have had signs of an infection from the bacteria.
It has been found to cause damage to immune system cells called neutrophils, which then cause the body’s own immune system to attack itself, similar to how the inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis happens.
Dr. Felipe Andrade, a rheumatologist at Johns Hopkins who oversaw the research says that while there’s no conclusive study conducted on gum health and rheumatoid arthritis, he feels that there’s nothing wrong with taking extra care of our teeth.
He adds, “Prevention is the best way to avoid any disease,” Andrade told NBC News. “So yes, I think if we start with improving the oral hygiene in people that may have some predisposition for the disease it is possible that we may prevent the development of the disease”
There’s still no cure for rheumatoid arthritis
Researchers have long surmised that rheumatoid arthritis is caused by an infection that triggers the autoimmune response. Here, the body itself attacks healthy tissue, such as in the case of rheumatoid arthritis.
Sadly, there’s currently no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. The treatments usually weaken the patient’s immune system, making them vulnerable to other disease.
While the team has found the bacteria present in a lot of cases of rheumatoid arthritis, the researchers have yet to find a link between healthy gums and reduced risk from rheumatoid arthritis. Still, they believe that proper gum care might possibly reduce the chances of acquiring rheumatoid arthritis
Can we prevent arthritis?
There’s really no way of preventing arthritis, but there are ways of reducing the risk of acquiring it, or possibly even delay arthritis. Here are some helpful steps:
- Eat healthy. What you put inside your body directly affects your health. So eating healthy food is a sure fire way of making sure that your body is healthy. It can also reduce the risk of gout and osteoarthritis.
- Stay active. It’s also very important to stay active and engage in regular exercise or sports. Physical activity strengthens your muscles and joints and helps reduce the risk of arthritis.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking can cause rheumatoid arthritis. If you’re a smoker, then it would be in your best interest to quit smoking before you acquire arthritis along with a host of other diseases connected with smoking.
- Keep your weight under control. Eating healthy and staying active are good ways of keeping your weight under control. Being overweight also increases your chances of acquiring osteoarthritis.
Sources: nbcnews.com, arthritis.org
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