Overview of Arthritis (rheumatoid)
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that primarily affects the joints. The condition is always chronic, developing over years and resulting in swollen and dysfunctional joints. Rheumatoid Arthritis most commonly affects wrist and hand joints, but can spread to other parts as well. The disease is believed to be genetic and triggered by environmental and radioactive factors. When the joint tissue becomes swollen, it can ultimately lead to complete elimination of movement in the joints and even physical deformities. As the disease progresses, other systems of the body, like circulation and respiration can also become affected to the degree of total collapse. Due to this reason, Rheumatoid Arthritis is classified among “systemic” diseases, i.e., they affect the whole body.
Causes and Risk Factors of Arthritis (rheumatoid)
The true cause behind Rheumatoid Arthritis is not known, albeit a number of factors play part in the onset of the condition. Basically, it is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakes joint tissue for a foreign object and starts attacking it, destroying those joints from within. Because it’s the body’s own system fighting against itself, there is no natural immune response to this disease unlike infections. Some people have a genetic predisposition for Rheumatoid Arthritis due to a certain gene that they carry. In others, this may trigger owing to environmental factors and especially repeated and lasting exposure to radiation. Finally, obese people stand a higher risk of contracting Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis (rheumatoid)
Because Rheumatoid Arthritis is primarily and inflammation of the joints, that’s where the most common symptoms would occur. These include tenderness in joints and excessive swelling, and an elevated body temperature in those areas compared to the rest of the body. Please note that this warmth exists only in the swollen joint and does not indicate a fever. Similarly, the patient feels stiffness in joints and finds it difficult to move or exercise with ongoing pain. This pain is especially increased if the patient has been in one position for long, for instance, standing up after remaining seated for a while etc. Finally, Rheumatoid Arthritis may also lead to weight loss, although that’s not a must.