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The influence of environmental factors on the onset of rheumatoid arthritis
The cause of rheumatoid arthritis, which is the most frequent inflammatory rheumatic disease, affecting between 0.5 and 1% of the general population, still remains unknown. However, as with all autoimmune disorders, it is assumed that rheumatoid arthritis is the consequence of the influence of environmental factors on a genetically predisposed host. Regional variations in disease prevalence support the environmental influence theory: geographical and climatic conditions, industrialization and pollution, socioeconomic status or lifestyle. For the time being, with a few exceptions, such as smoking, the vast majority of factors that can influence the onset of the disease remain unclear, although their contribution is most probably significant.
Keywords: rheumatoid arthritis, environmental factors