Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Types, Causes, Stages, and Treatments!

What happens in your body if you have rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of rheumatoid arthritis and occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. The immune system creates antibodies to attack the joint lining and connective tissues. These antibodies target the synovial membrane, which lines the joints, and the connective tissues of the joints. As a result, you will get symptoms such as swelling, pain, and stiffness.

The process happens in different phases, and rheumatoid arthritis is known to have five distinct stages to fully develop:

  • Phase 1: It’s when your genes interact with your environment and start triggering the disease. In this period, the symptoms may not be as marked as they are in the late stage of the disease. But you start feeling different, and some patients report a vague sensation of malaise.
  • Phase 2: The rheumatoid factor and rheumatoid arthritis autoantibodies are formed in this stage at an accelerated rate. Another antibody identified in these patients is known as “anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide” or anti-CCP.
  • Phase 3: This is where joint pain and stiffness start to arise. However, at this stage, patients do not yet experience the typical signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Their joint pain is still vague and difficult to differentiate from other causes.
  • Phase 4: This stage is also known as early undifferentiated arthritis. The typical signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis develop but only in one or two joints. Thus, the diagnosis is still difficult to establish. In some cases, this stage features intermittent symptoms. If that’s the case, we call it palindromic rheumatism.
  • Phase 5: This is where the established rheumatoid arthritis is set, and patients develop all of the signs and symptoms of the disease.