Arthritis is a broad group of conditions that affects the joints of the body. There are many types of arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and pain in your joints, especially your hands, feet, and knees. It affects joints on both sides of the body and can cause constant or unexpected symptoms. Women are more commonly affected.
What is an autoimmune disease? Autoimmune diseases occur when the body's immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue by mistake. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.
What is inflammation? Inflammation is swelling that occurs inside the body. Inflammation is our body’s way to protect us from injury and infection. When the inflammation is constant it can cause organs to not work properly and many symptoms.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a lifelong disease. Getting treatment early improves disease activity, physical function, and quality of life. There are medications for symptom control and those that fight the disease. Treatment is often a combination of both. Each patient’s situation is different and treatment must be specific to response. Medications in combination with exercise and other lifestyle modifications can help inflammation stay under control.