Over 60 million Americans suffer from some form of joint problem, and for many of them, their quality of life is severely diminished. Despite medical advances, we still don’t know everything we need about diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, which impacts roughly 1% of the world’s population.
Although RA is often referred to as an “invisible disease,” it is, in fact, visible and quite debilitating. The symptoms of the disease can be not only joint pain but also fatigue, skin inflammation, stiffness, and joint pain. It causes swelling, deformity, and eventually disability.
In this article, we will discuss what RA is, how it affects its sufferers, and what we can do to avoid this type of joint issue.
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the joints, causing swelling, stiffness, and pain in the inflamed areas. It can affect any joint in the body but most commonly affects the hands, feet, wrists, and knees. It can start at any age, but it most commonly affects people between 30 and 60.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that your own body defenses work against your joints under the assumption that they are foreign bodies and not a part of you. That is why the affected joints become swollen and painful all of a sudden and without any sustaining trauma. The inflammation causes more than pain and swelling; it can lead to permanent damage if left untreated.