Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory illness.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis

It is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases are illnesses which occur when the body tissues are mistakenly attacked by its own immune system. The inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis mainly attacks the linings of the joints. However, the membranes lining of the Blood Vessels, Heart, and Lungs may also become inflamed. The joints that are most commonly affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis are in the hands and feet; but any joint lined by a membrane can also be infected. The inflammation can also occur in tissues around the joints, such as the tendons, ligaments, and muscles.

The inflammation of Rheumatoid arthritis can be controlled by medication. If the inflammation is not controlled, rheumatoid arthritis can cause the joints to become deformed. Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may experience cycles of severe and light symptoms. Some of the common symptoms are: joint swelling (small joints in hands and feet), joint tenderness, stiffness, and pain, hardened lumps in joints and cartilage and bone destruction.

The majority of patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis have antibodies called rheumatoid factors in their bloodstream that are part of the inflammatory process of the disease. The presence of rheumatoid factor helps doctors diagnosis rheumatoid arthritis. This disease affects many people and is more common in women then men. The disease can occur at any age, but most often starts after age forty and before sixty. In some families, multiple members can be affected, suggesting a genetic link.

Other sources of information for these topics.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Forward Page
Disease Center: Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). This section has been updated and expanded.

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Foot and Ankle (American Orthopaedic Foot and ... Double Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Risk (National Institute of Arthritis and ...

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