Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an auto-immune disease that causes an inflammation of the lining of the joints. Its symptoms include swollen and tender joints accompanied by morning stiffness and sometimes fever, weight loss and fatigue. Rheumatoid arthritis most frequently affects the smallest joints in the body, eventually spreading to the knees, hips and shoulders. The disease appears differently from patient to patient, with some people experiencing chronic, progressive symptoms and others having sporadic ‘flare-ups’ and periods of remission.
Did you know…
that rheumatoid arthritis affects approximately 1.3 million people in the U.S.? Of those, the majority are women, as rheumatoid arthritis affects more than 2 women for every 1 man suffering with the disease. Unfortunately, no one is immune from RA, as it can affect people as young as 20 to 30 years old. However, the average age of rheumatoid arthritis patients is approximately 67.
Frequently Asked Questions
Could I be at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis?
Although rheumatoid arthritis can strike anyone, there are certain risk factors – such as age, genetics, tobacco usage and being female – that increase the chances of developing the disease.
Can I get rheumatoid arthritis treatment?
Left untreated, rheumatoid arthritis can cause joint erosion, which may become painful and result in deformity. There is not a cure for RA, but medications and physical therapy may help reduce joint inflammation, alleviate pain and minimize damage to joints. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
What can I do to help prevent or manage RA?
There is little you can do to prevent rheumatoid arthritis. However, some studies have shown that smoking may significantly increase the chances of developing the disease.