Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is rheumatoid arthritis?                                                     Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause inflammation of the tissue around the joints, as well as in other organs in the body. Autoimmune diseases are illnesses that occur when the body tissues are mistakenly attacked by its own immune system. Because it can affect multiple organs of the body, rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease.

While rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic illness, meaning it can last for years, patients may experience long periods without symptoms. Typically, however, rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive illness that has the potential to cause joint destruction and functional disability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the difference between normal, healthy joints and arthritic joints?

A joint is where two bones meet to allow movement of body parts. Arthritis means joint inflammation. The joint inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis causes swelling, pain, stiffness, and redness in the joints. The inflammation of rheumatoid disease can also occur in tissues around the joints, such as the tendons, ligaments, and muscles. In some patients with rheumatoid arthritis, chronic inflammation leads to the destruction of the cartilage, bone, and ligaments, causing deformity of the joints. Damage to the joints can occur early in the disease and progress as the individual ages.

What causes rheumatoid arthritis?
The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown.Some scientists believe that the tendency to develop rheumatoid arthritis may be genetically inherited. Environmental factors also seem to play some role in causing rheumatoid arthritis. Recently, scientists have reported that smoking tobacco increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.