Rheumatoid arthritis is among the most severe of a number of arthritis conditions. Arthritis is extremely common, affecting more than 3 million people in the United States each year. Risk increases with age and symptoms tend to worsen over time.
Wear and tear, underlying conditions, and viral or bacterial infections can all contribute to arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis in particular is associated with a faulty autoimmune response. This causes the immune system to attack the joint linings.
A rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis depends on distinguishing it from other forms of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are unique because of symmetry: They affect joints on both sides of the body. This can include both hands, both knees, and so on.
Other rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include:
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition. Once diagnosed, it persists for life. Patients experience different symptoms based on what joints are affected and how the disease progresses. Progression of symptoms can be very fast, very slow, or in between.
Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers should remain under a doctor’s care and be tested for complications of the disease on a regular basis. Most rheumatoid arthritis patients will be tested for signs of anemia and put on appropriate supplementation if iron levels are low.
Over time, potential rheumatoid arthritis complications include:
It is rare, but possible, for rheumatoid arthritis to affect other vital organs like the liver and kidneys. Bone health can be endangered by certain treatments. Rheumatoid arthritis treatment typically includes a mix of anti-inflammatory and immune suppressant drugs.
With 70 million sufferers in the U.S., arthritis disorders are among the most pervasive in the nation and the leading cause of disability. Rheumatoid arthritis clinical studies are crucial for providing clinical resources for rheumatoid arthritis that may reduce the burden of this difficult disease. Through more clinical research, a rheumatoid arthritis cure is possible.