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RA; Arthritis - rheumatoid




RA; Arthritis - rheumatoid

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The cause of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is unknown. It is considered autoimmune disease. The body's immune system normally fights off foreign substances, like viruses. But in an autoimmune disease, the immune system confuses healthy tissue for foreign substances. As a result, the body attacks itself. 

RA can occur at any age. It usually occurs in people between 25 and 55. Women are affected more often than men.

The course and the severity of the illness can vary considerably. Infection, genes, and hormones may contribute to the disease.

RA usually affects joints on both sides of the body equally. Wrists, fingers, knees, feet, and ankles are the most commonly affected.


In-Depth Causes & Symptoms

The disease usually begins gradually with fatigue, morning stiffness (lasting more than one hour), widespread muscle aches, loss of appetite, and weakness. Eventually, joint pain appears. When the joint is not used for a while, it can become warm, tender, and stiff. When the lining of the joint (synovium) becomes inflamed, it gives off more fluid and the joint becomes swollen. Joint pain is often felt on both sides of the body, and may effect the wrist, knees, elbows, fingers, toes, ankle or neck. Additional symptoms include:


   Loss of appetite

   Low-grade fever

   Limited range of motion

   Deformities of hands and feet

   Round, painless nodules under the skin (usually a

    sign of more severe disease)

   Inflammation of the lung (pleurisy)

   Skin redness or inflammation


   Swollen glands

   Eye burning, itching, and discharge

   Numbness or tingling

   Anemia may occur due to failure of the bone marrow to

    produce enough new red cells.


Joint destruction may occur within 1-2 years after the appearance of the disease.









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