My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Ask Your Question

WebMD Answers

120 Characters remaining
120 Characters remaining
  • First, try and keep your question as short as possible.
  • Include specific words that will help us identify questions that may already have your answer.
  • If you don't find your answer, you can post your question to WebMD Experts and Contributors.

Close

Posted: | Report This Report Question |
Q.

My wife has just been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and her sister has MS, are the two diseases related?

My wife has just been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and her sister has MS, are the two diseases related?  

 

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

Family Medicine
61 Answers
2,190 Helpful Votes
35 Followers
A.

This is a really good question. There is a lot that we don’t really know about rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and multiple sclerosis (MS).

Both MS and RA are considered to be autoimmune diseases. This means that for some reason, the body’s own immune system attacks parts of itself.  In RA, the immune system begins to attack the joints. In MS, it attacks the brain and spinal cord. Why this happens in some people is not entirely clear. Certain autoimmune diseases and the tendency to get autoimmune diseases does seem to run in families. 

It is thought that different things can trigger MS and RA. These triggers may be hormonal, genetic, or environmental. Exposure to certain viruses is thought to be a trigger. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has suspected links to both RA and MS.  

There are also other connections. Some studies suggest that MS patients may be more likely to get RA and other autoimmune diseases. And a treatment for RA called anti-TNF therapy can cause a condition very similar to MS. 

I hope this helps. As you can see, we all still have a lot to learn about MS, RA and all the other autoimmune diseases. 

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

Posted:
| Report This Report Answer

Was this helpful?

YesNo

Thanks for your feedback.

90 of 97 found this helpful
 
 

Next Question: