Chronic affective joint inflammation with no problems in many joints, including network and foot cells.
During an attack of rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and joints. In severe cases, it attacks internal organs.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of the joints and causes painful swelling. Over long periods of time, the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis can lead to bone erosion and joint deformity.
While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, physical therapy and medication can slow the progression of the disease. Most cases can be presented with a class of drugs called anti-inflammatory drugs (DMARDS).
The signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can include:
Comparison of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis vs OsteoarthritisOpen pop-up dialog
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system attacks the synovium – the lining of the membranes that surround your joints.
The resulting inflammation thickens the synovium, which can eventually destroy the cartilage and bones in the joint.
The tendons and ligaments that hold the joint weaken and stretch. Gradually, the seal loses its shape and alignment.
Types of rheumatoid arthritis
There are several different types of PR. Knowing your type of treatment can help your healthcare professional suggest the best type of treatment for you.
HIV positive RA. If you have RA, your blood test for rheumatoid factor is positive. This means that you have the antibodies that cause your immune system to attack the joints.
HIV negative RA. If you have a negative RF blood test result and a negative anti-CCP result, but you still have symptoms of RA, you may have seronegative RA. You may eventually develop antibodies, which will change your diagnosis to HIV-positive RA.
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). Juvenile idiopathic arthritis refers to RA in children aged 17 and under. The disease was previously known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). Symptoms are the same as for other types of RA
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. But clinical studies indicate that remission of symptoms is more likely when treatment begins early with medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages because the early signs and symptoms mimic those of many other diseases. There is no one blood test or physical finding to confirm the diagnosis.
During the physical exam, your doctor will check your joints for swelling, redness and warmth. He or she may also check your reflexes and muscle strength.
People with rheumatoid arthritis often have an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR, or sed rate) or C-reactive protein (CRP), which may indicate the presence of an inflammatory process in the body. Other common blood tests look for rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies.
Your doctor may recommend X-rays to help track the progression of rheumatoid arthritis in your joints over time. MRI and ultrasound tests can help your doctor judge the severity of the disease in your body.
Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include: Tender, warm, swollen joints. Joint stiffness that is usually worse in the mornings and after inactivity. Fatigue, fever and loss of appetite.
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you experience persistent discomfort and swelling in the joints.
Factors that can increase your risk for rheumatoid arthritis include:
Your gender. Women are more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis.
Age. Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age, but it most often starts in middle age.
Family story. If someone in your family has rheumatoid arthritis, you may have an increased risk of getting the disease.
Smoking. Smoking increases your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, especially if you have a genetic predisposition to develop the disease. Smoking also appears to be associated with greater severity of the disease.
Environmental exposures. Although poorly understood, certain exposures such as asbestos or silica can increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Emergency workers exposed to dust from the World Trade Center collapse are at a higher risk of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Obesity. People – especially women 55 and under – who are overweight or obese seem to have a slightly higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
How much cost
These aren’t for medications or other treatments. Examples include money lost if you can’t work full-time due to your RA. The Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network estimates that low productivity, absenteeism, and lost wages can cost $ 1,500 to $ 22,000 per year, per patient.