What we know about Arthritis
What we already know about Arthritis
Research has established that many, if not most, types of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMD) result from a combination of genetic predisposition and an environmental trigger, such as a virus or toxin. Discovery of the trigger for a RMD may be the key to its prevention, even in someone with genetic risk.
Genetic predisposition means that illness cannot necessarily be avoided by pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Research aims to understand the genetic predisposition to help those affected. Furthermore, research tries to find out what environmental components may trigger the disease. Factors that may activate a muskuloskeletal disorder are for example obesity, stress, cigarette smoke, air pollution, insecticides and occupational exposure to mineral oil and silica. Finding out what triggers disease is important for government, so that policy makers can take measures to protect people from exposure to unhealthy substances.
In recent years, research has helped find drug therapies that can slow progress of some rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases and even some cases even stop them. However, a sizeable number of patients do not respond to these treatments. Scientists have also made some important insights into the factors that cause RMD, thus developing potential to avoid onset and prevent illness breaking out.