About Rheumatoid Arthritis
In RA the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joints, causing inflammation. Therefore, a patient with rheumatoid arthritis will experience joint stiffness and pain. It can lead to long-term joint damage, resulting in chronic pain, loss of function and disability.
Rheumatoid arthritis can strike at any age, but onset is usually between the ages of 30 and 50. Like many autoimmune diseases, RA is more prevalent in women—two to three times more women than men have this disease. In addition to causing joint problems, rheumatoid arthritis can also affect your whole body with fevers and fatigue.
Because it is a chronic disease, rheumatoid arthritis continues indefinitely and may not go away. Frequent flares in disease activity can occur. rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease, which means it can affect other organs in the body.
What are the symptoms and signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis?
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis commonly include:
- Muscle and joint aches, and stiffness, usually most notable in the morning and after periods of inactivity
- Loss of energy
- Red, swollen, painful, and tender joints
- Dryness in the eyes and mouth
What causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?
The exact cause of Rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. It is believed that the tendency to develop rheumatoid arthritis may be genetically inherited. It is also suspected that certain infections or factors in the environment might trigger the activation of the immune system in susceptible individuals. This misdirected immune system then attacks the body’s own tissues.
This leads to inflammation in the joints and sometimes in various organs of the body, such as the lungs or eyes. Environmental factors also seem to play some role in causing rheumatoid arthritis. For example, scientists have reported that smoking increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.