Can a Car Accident Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis?

The Mayo Clinic describes rheumatoid arthritis as a chronic inflammation that impacts the lining of your joints. While the condition starts in the joints, there have been situations where it can spread to other parts of the body, including the lungs, eyes, and even the circulatory system. Rheumatoid arthritis is categorized as an autoimmune disorder. As time passes, and rheumatoid arthritis worsens, the condition not only becomes incredibly painful but it steadily leads to increased swelling. It’s not uncommon for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis to experience joint deformity and bone erosion.

Rheumatoid arthritis isn’t considered a fatal condition, but studies do indicate that it can result in a shortened lifespan. It’s also worth noting that while rheumatoid arthritis isn’t fatal, it can be a contributing factor in things that are, including:

  • Anemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Lung disease
  • Lung scarring
  • Heart disease

According to the American College of Rheumatology rheumatoid arthritis is the most common autoimmune disease. An estimated 1.3 million people living in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis. Some believe that their condition is linked to a car accident they were involved in.

Was Your Rheumatoid Arthritis Caused by a Car Accident?

The world is full of people who are convinced that they developed rheumatoid arthritis as a result of their involvement in a car accident. While John Hopkins Arthritis Center doesn’t say that it’s not possible for rheumatoid arthritis to have been caused by an accident, they also aren’t saying that car accidents caused the condition.

Their exact response when someone asked about it was: “Many patients describe accidents, surgeries or other traumatic events as starting or “triggering” RA. Lawsuits often try to focus on this possibility. However, there is no clear scientific evidence that this is the case.”

If you have been involved in a car accident and are now suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, reach out to a seasoned car accident attorney today.

What Does Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis

No one is entirely sure exactly what causes rheumatoid arthritis. According to experts connected to the Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network, experts are currently studying the disease in an attempt to find the root cause.

While no one knows exactly what causes rheumatoid arthritis to develop, some people are at an increased risk of developing the condition. Connections to rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Genetics-if close family members develop rheumatoid arthritis, there’s a better chance that you will. While genetics may play a role in rheumatoid arthritis, it’s also important to note that some people are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis even though no family member has developed the condition
  • Hormones-Since women are three times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men, many wonder if estrogen could be a contributing factor. Women are most likely to develop the condition between the ages of 30 and 60.
  • Lifestyle-Individuals who smoke, are overweight, or are in generally poor health are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Environment-There’s some evidence to suggest that the environment could be a contributing factor. Individuals who are exposed to certain chemicals and pollutants are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than people who aren’t exposed to those conditions.

Post Traumatic Arthritis

Granted, there is no scientific proof that car accidents trigger rheumatoid arthritis, there is a condition called post-traumatic arthritis that is often linked to car accidents.

The symptoms of post-traumatic arthritis include:

  • Joint swelling
  • Joint pain
  • Synovial effusion
  • Articular bleeding

What is Post Traumatic Arthritis

The term post-traumatic arthritis is a term used to describe the inflammation your joints can experience after you have been involved in a traumatic event, such as a car accident. It’s also a condition that develops after using the joint a great deal which is why some athletes suffer from arthritis-like conditions when a sporting season ends.

Treating Post Traumatic Arthritis

In many cases, post-traumatic arthritis does eventually heal and you’re able to return to a pain-free existence. While you’re suffering from post-traumatic arthritis, the common treatment options to speed the healing process along include

  • Wearing a brace on the impacted joint
  • Weight loss
  • Physical therapy
  • Low-impact exercise including swimming

Although rare, sometimes surgery is used during the treatment of post-traumatic arthritis. The types of surgery considered for this condition include:

  • Joint replacement surgery
  • Debridement
  • Joint fusion

According to the Cleaveland Clinic, in many cases, post-traumatic arthritis is a temporary condition. The conditions should ease after a few months. However, there are always exceptions. There have been cases where post-traumatic arthritis turned into a long-term chronic health problem that had life-altering consequences.

Your priority following a car accident is getting yourself to an emergency room and getting checked out. The sooner you get to the hospital, the sooner you’ll learn just how extensive your injuries are and start yourself down the road to recovery.

Once you know how serious your medical situation is following a car accident, you’ll want a good, experienced personal injury lawyer who will work closely with you and make sure you get the settlement you’re entitled to.

Contact a trusted car accident attorney today and learn about the steps we take when negotiating personal injury cases with insurance companies.

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