Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that most people live for their entire lives. It causes inflammation around the tissues near and within your joints, as well as the joints themselves. It can in some cases even affect some of your other bodily organs, but what causes it is not known and as such it is one of the many types of autoimmune diseases.
This arthritis works by affecting the normal process that your body undergoes when fighting off any foreign things like viruses and bacteria. Normally, your body would do this without any issues, but if you have this arthritis, you immune system is unable to define the difference between tissues that are diseased or infected and healthy tissues. In essence, if you have this type of arthritis, your body is literally attacking itself – you!
Do not be led to believe that only old people get this because anyone at any age and of any gender can get it. Though most of the patients with this are women, men can get it too. Quite often it attacks both sides of your body with equal fervour. The most common areas to get it in include your ankles, feet, knees, fingers and wrists, but how severe your symptoms will be will depend on your body. Researchers are looking into the potential of issues caused by your hormones, genes and infections, though nothing concrete has been established.
If you get rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain is not the first thing that you will get. In fact, many patients start with one symptom or a few of the following:
General body weakness
Thereafter, people start feeling pain, stiffness in the morning and warm, tender and swollen joints. These may go on for up to an hour, being felt in joints usually on both your left and right side. Your neck, jaw, toes, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers may hurt. As time goes on, you may find your joints becoming deformed or feeling spongy, with your joints undergoing destruction within one or two years after you start getting your first symptoms. You might even get pleurisy chest pains, itchy/burning/discharging eyes, nodules forming under your skin (severe), and burning, tingling and numbness in your feet and hands. So, if you are getting these symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible because you need to deal with your symptoms, delay the damage being done and prevent any damage from happening in the future.
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