by EBSCO Medical Review Board

A risk factor is something that raises the chances of getting a health problem. A person can get rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with or without the ones listed below. The chances are greater in people who have many risk factors.

RA is more common in women. It is also more common in people who are 30 to 60 years of age. Other things that can raise the risk are:

  • A family history of RA
  • Having certain genes
  • Having other health problems, such as obesity, periodontitis, and some bacterial and viral infections
  • Smoking
  • Drinking coffee


Aletaha D, Smolen JS. Diagnosis and Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Review. JAMA. 2018 Oct 2;320(13);1360-1372.

Rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: January 27, 2020.

Rheumatoid arthritis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Updated December 2018. Accessed January 27, 2020.

Rheumatoid arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: Updated September 2019. Accessed January 27, 2020.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Updated May 22, 2019. Accessed January 27, 2020.

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