As a mother with Rheumatoid Arthritis, every day has its own challenges. But what about the challenges presented to your own child? How do genetics play a role in what your child is at risk for?

As soon as I had my daughter, my first concern was how I would handle taking care of her, and my second concern was what risks I passed on to her. So, I did my research, and here is what I found.

Increased Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis

According to one study published in Arthritis Care & Research, most children born to mothers with RA do appear to have a near triple increase risk of developing RA themselves. In the study, researchers followed children over 25 years.

As an auto-immune illness, RA does have a genetic component, which means your child may be at risk if you carry the disease.  

Thyroid Disease

The same study also showed that children of moms with RA also had a doubled risk of thyroid disease. The connection between RA and thyroid disease isn’t clear, but it could be related to inflammation.

It could take into adulthood for your child’s illness to take effect. However, your child also might not develop this illness. Keeping an eye out for thyroid-related symptoms is a great way to reduce their battle with any disease that might develop.

Epilepsy

Children of mothers who have RA also have a 61 percent increased risk of developing epilepsy. Again, there is no apparent reason why uncertainty exists, but there are theories that specific genes make individuals more susceptible to certain illnesses. Also, exposure to RA while in the womb may increase the risk of other auto-immune diseases.

While studies need to be replicated, as a mother to a daughter, I feel more empowered knowing the risks and knowing what I should be on the lookout for.

It doesn’t mean I’ve failed.

It merely means my daughter is open to risks other children might not be.

And that’s okay. Together, we can make it through anything.