Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory illness. It is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks normal tissue components as if they were invading pathogens. This illness affects about one percent of the world's population. The inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis primarily attacks the linings of the joints. However, the membranes lining the following organs may also become inflamed:
The joints that are most often affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis are in the hands and feet; however, any joint lined by a membrane may be involved. The inflammation can be controlled by medication. If the inflammation is not controlled, rheumatoid arthritis can cause the joints to become deformed.
- Blood Vessels
Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis often suffer from cycles of severe and light symptoms. Consider the following symptoms and affects of rheumatoid arthritis:
- Joint swelling (small joints in hands and feet)
- Joint tenderness, stiffness, and pain (Especially in the morning)
- Hardened lumps (in joints)
- Cartilage and bone destruction
Most 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 is used by doctors to help confirm a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
Always consult a physician regarding the diagnosis and treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis.