Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term autoimmune disorder that primarily affects joints. It typically results in warm, swollen, and painful joints. Pain and stiffness often worsen following rest. Most commonly, the wrist and hands are involved, with the same joints typically involved on both sides of the body. The disease may also affect other parts of the body. This may result in a low red blood cell count, inflammation around the lungs, and inflammation around the heart. Fever and low energy may also be present. Often, symptoms come on gradually over weeks to months.
This disease affects 0.5-1 percent of the population worldwide, and the exact cause is unknown (Quan, Thiele, Tian, & Wang, 2008).
Gut microbiota has been shown to play a role in RA although the mechanism of this association remains poorly understood. However, several studies have shown that the composition of the intestinal microbiota is altered (Maeda & Takeda, 2017; Yeoh, Burton, Suppiah, Reid, & Stebbings, 2013). Understanding the mechanism between gut microbiota and RA is crucial for better treatment efficacy and personalized patient management.
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