Volume 34, Issue 4, December 2023

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Mediterr J Rheumatol 2023;34(4):404-13
Epidemiology and Risk Factors for Rheumatoid Arthritis Development
Authors Information

1Department of Rheumatology, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece

2Institute of Epidemiology, Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Corfu, Greece


AI Venetsanopoulou, Y Alamanos, PV Voulgari, AA Drosos


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a prevalent chronic inflammatory arthritis worldwide, significantly impacting patients and population health. The disease affects women primarily, with a female-to-male ratio of three to one. Its pathogenesis is multifactorial, including genetic and environmental risk factors. Epidemiological studies highlight the link between the environment and genetic susceptibility to RA. The so-called shared epitope is the most significant risk factor that seems to act synergetic with other environmental factors in the disease occurrence.

 In addition, recent findings suggest a potential role of new substantial environmental factors, such as the observed pollution of the planet’s natural resources, on the susceptibility and progression of the disease. This review summarises the most decisive evidence on epidemiology and genetic, environmental, and lifestyle risk factors for RA. It shows that studying genetic and environmental factors in correlation could lead to prevention strategies that may impact the natural history of the disease.

Cite this article as: Venetsanopoulou AI, Alamanos Y, Voulgari PV, Drosos AA. Epidemiology and Risk Factors for Rheumatoid Arthritis Development. Mediterr J Rheumatol 2023;34(4):404-13

Article Submitted: 14 Dec 2022; Revised Form: 24 Oct 2023; Article Accepted: 31 Oct 2023; Available Online: 30 Dec 2023

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

©2023 The Author(s).