Rheumatoid arthritis is a pain. It is a pain the body and the joints and makes life difficult for sufferers. Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto immune disease with many triggers and risk factors. Current research has now begun looking at the effect psychological stress has in aggravating the disease. The trigger is found in cytokines, a protein that your cells produce which interacts with the cells of the immune system in order to regulate your body’s defense mechanism. Overproduction of these proteins result in rheumatoid arthritis. An investigative study has found that psychological stress can trigger the over production of inflammatory cytokine, thus correlating stress with the auto immune disease.

Motivala SJ, Khanna D, FitzGerald J, Irwin MR. Stress activation of cellular markers of inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis: protective effects of tumor necrosis factor alpha antagonists. Arthritis Rheum. 2008 Feb;58(2):376-83. doi: 10.1002/art.23165. PubMed PMID: 18240230. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18240230