The Basics of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease leading to inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissue. It can occur at any age, and usually affects both sides of the body equally. The joints most commonly affected are the wrists, fingers, ankles, feet, and knees.
The beginning symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include fatigue, loss of appetite and weight, a low fever, and swollen glands. As the disease advances, it leads to joint pain and stiffness, which will appear in the morning and will often last more than one hour. The joints may also feel warm and spongy to the touch. Joint destruction may occur 1-2 years after the disease presents itself, and range of
Treatment is a lifelong battle for RA sufferers, and will include drug therapy, physical therapy, and sometimes surgery to relieve the swelling and deformities of the joints. Early treatment of RA may slow the progression of the disease, although after many years approximately 10 percent of people become severely disabled and are unable to work or complete their normal daily activities.
The prognosis of RA varies with each individual patient. Diagnosis at a young age often indicates a more aggressive form of the disease. Other patients often see improvement in symptoms over time. Treatment options are developing, and the sooner the disease is diagnosed and treatment initiated, the better the prognosis.
There is no way to prevent rheumatoid arthritis and no cure, although immediate and continuous treatment can mitigate damage to the joints and organs.If you exhibit any symptoms of RA, see a medical professional as soon as possible.