Rheumatoid Arthritis Essay

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means that your immune system isn’t working like it should and begins attacking healthy tissue. What is RA? RA most often targets your joints. Your joint is surrounded by tissue called the synovium, which supports and protects it. The synovium makes fluid that helps the cartilage and bones of your joint move smoothly. When you have RA, your immune system attacks the synovium causing inflammation, or swelling, and other RA symptoms. Left untreated, an inflamed synovium can damage your cartilage and bone. When this happens, the muscles and tissues that surround the joint weaken. This can deform your joint and make it hard for you to move. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks itself. The pattern of joints affected is usually symmetrical, involves the hands and other joints and is worse in the morning. Rheumatoid arthritis is also a systemic disease, involving other body organs, whereas osteoarthritis is limited to the joints. Over time, both forms of arthritis can be crippling. The affect of rheumatoid arthritis can progress to the degree that it is crippling. Deformities distinctive to late-stage rheumatoid arthritis such as ulnar deviation of the bones of the hands, or swan-neck deviation of the fingers occur because muscles and tendons on one side of the joint may overpower those on the other side, pulling the bones out of alignment. Symptoms Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Periods when symptoms get worse are called flare -ups. Telltale signs of RA includes: Joint pain or tenderness - Weakness and fatigue -Joint swelling - Flu-like symptoms -Joint redness -Weight loss - Loss of flexibility - Trouble gripping or holding things - Joint stiffness especially for 1-2 hrs after awakening in the morning -
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