Approximately 1 percent of the American population has been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Although women are two to three times more likely to get it than men, men tend to report more severe symptoms.While anyone can get it, even …
Approximately 1 percent of the American population has been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Although women are two to three times more likely to get it than men, men tend to report more severe symptoms.
While anyone can get it, even children, doctors and researchers are not certain what is the exact cause. It has been theorized that a virus or bacteria may threaten the immune system and trigger it to attack the joints. For some, this can occur quickly, and for others it presents itself over a period of time.
RA happens when your body’s own immune system starts attacking the joints such as in the hands, knees and wrists. Because it is generally symmetrical, attacking both joints on the right and left sides, it sets this apart from any other type of arthritis. The lining of the joints becomes inflamed and may be tender, swollen, warm and painful.
When the immune system’s cells arrive to the joints, they create inflammation. Over time, the inflammation wears down the cartilage, decreasing the amount of space between the bones, causing them to rub against each other or become damaged. The inflammation can spread to other systems of the body such as the eyes, skin, organs and nerves.
There is no single test that can diagnose RA. It is a combination of X-rays, blood tests and assessments. Medication, rest and exercise are generally used to treat its associated symptoms. Many medications can ease joint pain and swelling as well as suppress the immune system.
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