What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
According to the CDC:
What is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means that your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation (painful swelling) in the affected parts of the body.
RA mainly attacks the joints, usually many joints at once. RA commonly affects joints in the hands, wrists, and knees. In a joint with RA, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed, causing damage to joint tissue. This tissue damage can cause long-lasting or chronic pain, unsteadiness (lack of balance), and deformity (misshapenness).
RA can also affect other tissues throughout the body and cause problems in organs such as the lungs, heart, and eyes.
What Are the Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?
The symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis do not stay at a consistent level. There are times when individuals living with RA may experience severe symptoms, this is known as a flare up. Other times, a patient living with RA may experience periods of time where the symptoms are mild, this is known as remission.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with RA according to the Arthritis Foundation include the following:
In the early stages, people with RA may not see redness or swelling in the joints, but they may experience tenderness and pain.
These symptoms are clues to RA:
-Joint pain, tenderness, swelling or stiffness that lasts for six weeks or longer.
-Morning stiffness that lasts for 30 minutes or longer.
-More than one joint is affected.
-Small joints (wrists, certain joints in the hands and feet) are typically affected first.
-The same joints on both sides of the body are affected.
-Many people with RA get very tired (fatigue) and some may have a low-grade fever. RA symptoms may come and go. Having a lot of inflammation and other symptoms is called a flare. A flare can last for days or months.
What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?
In a healthy person, the immune system fights invaders, such as bacteria and viruses. With an autoimmune disease like RA, the immune system mistakes the body’s cells for foreign invaders and releases inflammatory chemicals that attack, in the case of RA, the synovium. That’s the tissue lining around a joint that produces a fluid to help the joint move smoothly. The inflamed synovium gets thicker and makes the joint area feel painful and tender, look red and swollen and moving the joint may be difficult.
Researchers aren’t sure why some people develop RA. They think that these individuals have certain genes that are activated by a trigger in the environment, like a virus or bacteria, or physical or emotional stress or some other external factor.
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Whether you have a medical concern you want to address with a physician or are seeking long term management and care for a condition you already have been diagnosed with, Wellspire is here for you. We believe every patient deserves a treatment plan that works for their specific needs and lifestyle. At the first sign of an issue, come into one of our two medical facilities. If you do not have an appointment, we will do our best to accommodate you at one of our locations. Wellspire Medical Group proudly serves Atascocita, Humble and surrounding areas. We have been part of Northeast Houston as the Mehta Medical Group for 30 years. Our name change reflects our broader scope of services. In other words, we are working hard to “Inspire Better Health!”