In this cross-section of a knee joint,
arthritis begins as
of the synovial
membrane, followed by
damage to cartilage.
arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body's own
immune system attacks healthy joint tissue. It is a chronic
condition that often affects people between the ages of 40
and 60. It is a progressive condition that characterized by
pain and inflammation.
According to the Arthritis
Foundation, rheumatoid arthritis affects 1.3 million people
in the United States. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis remains
unknown although several factors may play a role in the development
of the condition. According to Arthritis.com, rheumatoid arthritis is 2 to 3 times more common in women than in men.
Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms
arthritis is a progressive health condition that develops
in stages, growing progressively worse. Rheumatoid arthritis
begins with swelling of the synovial lining of the joints
causing pain and stiffness. As the lining thickens
and the condition continues to progress, the result is often loss
of movement in the affected joints.
Fever can occur and fatigue is also a common symptom.
are often periods where rheumatoid arthritis flares up and
symptoms are at their worst. Then the condition can go into
a period of remission where there are no apparent symptoms
and the condition is not troublesome.
pattern of rheumatoid arthritis is symmetrical which means
that it affects both sides of the body at the same time.
These photos illustrate the early, middle, and late stages of rheumatoid
arthritis as joints become enlarged and fingers deformed.
rheumatoid arthritis can cause limited mobility and impaired
function of affected joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can also
affect the heart and lungs. Small lumps of tissue known as
nodules may develop under the skin. These nodules may vary
Rheumatoid arthritis treatment
such as immunosuppressants can help to control the immune
system from attacking healthy joint tissue by eliminating
cells associated with the disease. In some cases, surgery
may be necessary to repair damaged joints. Patients diagnosed
with rheumatoid arthritis should discuss treatment options
with a physician.
examination, family history, blood tests and x-rays are used
to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. Unfortunately, there is
no cure for the condition. However, medications such as anti-inflammatory
drugs and steroids can help reduce the most painful symptoms.
If the disease is detected early enough, there are drugs that
can help slow the condition and possibly even prevent permanent
drugs and medications, suggested alternative remedies for
rheumatoid arthritis include Omega-3
fatty acids found in fish oils. While it is too early to tell if Vitamin D supplements are beneficial to rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, studies have shown the group to be highly deficient in this important nutrient. Light exercise is also
often recommended to help keep joints strong and limber.
on Health: Rheumatoid arthritis - Extensive fact sheet
with illustrations, information and detailed overview of medications
along with their uses and side effects, suggested home remedies
and lifestyle changes, and related resources.
Medicine - Rheumatoid Arthritis - Information on causes,
symptoms, and traditional drug therapies with more on nutritional,
vitamin and herbal remedies, acupuncture, massage and physical
therapy, with related references and supporting research.
information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.