Rheumatoid Arthritis: What You Need To Know

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can cause joint pain and damage to your body.

The joint damage caused by RA usually occurs at both sides of the body.

So, if a joint in one of your arms or legs is affected, the same joint in the other arm or leg is likely to be affected too. This is one way doctors distinguish RA from other forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis.

Treatments work best when diagnosing RA early so learning the signs is important.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just the joints. Some people may experience damage to a wide variety of body systems, including the skin , eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels.

Autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, occurs when your immune system wrongly attacks the tissues of your body. It causes the lining of your joints to become inflamed. This can make your joints red, warm, swollen and painful.

Inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis can also damage other parts of the body.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis may show signs and symptoms including:

  • Joint pain

  • Joint swelling

  • Joint Stiffness

  • Fatigue, fever and loss of appetite

Early rheumatoid arthritis tends to initially affect your smaller joints — especially the joints that attach your fingers to your hands and toes to your feet.

Symptoms frequently spread to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders as the disease progresses. Symptoms occur mostly on both sides of your body in the same joints.


Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the synovium is attacked by your immune system — the lining of membranes that surround your joints.

The resulting inflammation densifies the synovium, which can eventually destroy the joint cartilage and bone.

It weakens and stretches the tendons and ligaments that hold the joint together. The joint progressively loses form and alignment.

Doctors do not know what this process begins, although it is likely that a genetic component appears. Although your genes do not cause rheumatoid arthritis, they can make you more vulnerable to environmental factors, that may trigger the disease — such as infection with certain viruses and bacteria.

Home remedies for rheumatoid arthritis

Some home remedies and lifestyle adjustments may help to improve your quality of life while living with RA. This includes exercise, rest, and assistance equipment.

  • Exercise

  • Get enough rest

  • Apply heat or cold (cold and hot compresses)

  • Assistive Devices (splints and braces)

To Sum It Up

RA is a chronic disease which has no cure at this time. That said, most people with RA are not suffering from constant symptoms. Instead, they have flare-ups followed by periods relatively free of symptoms, called remissions.

The course of the disease varies from individual to individual, and symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Although symptoms may stop for extended periods of time, RA-caused joint problems will usually get worse over time. That is why it is so important to use early treatment to help delay serious joint damage.

If you have any symptoms or have RA concerns, talk to your healthcare provider.

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