What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Often regarded as the most serious and disabling of all forms of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory arthritis when the body attacks the tissue that lines around the joints called synovium, causing the joint lining becomes inflamed.  This is often regarded as autoimmune disease that occurs when the body mistakenly attacked by its own immune system.  The most common part affected are hands, wrists, and knees.  Since it is triggered by autoimmune reaction, the inflammation can spread to surrounding tissues like tendons, ligaments and cartilage and eventually it results in the damage in bone and cartilage. In serious case, it can lead to loss in mobility, and even affect the skin, eyes and nerves.

What are the Risk Factors of RA?

It is not known what causes RA. However, it is thought that RA may be genetically inherited, and certain infections and environmental factors may trigger the development of RA.

Who are likely to get the condition?

  • Women (estimated 75% are women)
  • Often begins between 30 and 40 years old but can get it at any age
  • If you have family members who have the history of getting RA, you have higher chance of getting it

What are the RA Symptoms?

  • Pain, swelling and stiffness on the joints, muscles. The symptoms often come and go, more intense during the flare-up (when the inflammation becomes active). The period of flare-up can lasts from days to months.
  • Deformity of joints
  • Pain affects both side of the body (symmetrical pattern)
  • May have difficulty to perform daily tasks such as opening container
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite

The importance of early treatment

There is no cure for RA, therefore it is very importance in taking the early action. There are resources, treatments available that can help you to cope with it effectively.


available from http://www.medicinenet.com

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