Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic progressive disease causing inflammation in the joints and resulting in painful deformity and immobility especially in the fingers, wrists, feet and ankles.




Symptoms of RA:

1.       Tender, warm swollen joints

2.       Morning stiffness that may last for hours

3.       Firm bumps of tissue under the skin on the arms

4.       Fatigue, fever and weight loss


Early stageof RA usually affects smaller joints at first, like the middle joints on the fingers, knuckles and the joints on the toes. At the later stage it often spread to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbow, hips and shoulders. These symptoms usually occur on both sides of your body.

The stiffness seen in active RA is most often worst in the morning. It may last one to two hours (or even the whole day). Stiffness for along time in the morning is a clue that you may have RA, since few other arthritic diseases behave this way.

RA may be mistaken as gout because they both show symptoms of redness, swelling and pain in the joints. To differentiate between these two, a series of tests needed to be done; fluid could be drawn from the inflamed joints for testing. RA usually affects more women than men; and Gout is usually affects more men than women.

RA can also affect other parts of the body, including skin, blood vessels, eyes, and lungs. People with RA may also battle fatigue and general weakness.


What causes Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?

RA is an autoimmune disease. This means that certain cells of the immune system do not work properly and start attacking healthy tissues — the joints in RA. The cause of RA is not known. Yet, new research is giving us a better idea of what makes the immune system attack the body and create inflammation. In RA, the focus of the inflammation is in the synovium, the tissue that lines the joint. Immune cells release inflammation-causing chemicals. These chemicals can damage cartilage (the tissue that cushions between joints) and bone. Other things likely play a rolein RA as well. For instance, genes that affect the immune system may make some people more prone to getting RA.


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