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Rheumatoid Arthritis

Jul 18, 2008
Rheumatoid arthritis affects the many joints in our bodies and is not prominent in any one place over the other. This type of arthritis also affects the heart, lungs and the blood as well. Rheumatoid arthritis is the inflammation of synovium, or joint lining. The pain suffered from this extremely painful disease can be from stiffness, redness, swelling, and warmth. The joints that are affected over time may lose their shape and will result in the loss of normal everyday movement. Rheumatoid arthritis generally starts around the age of twenty and can last a lifetime. This type of disease typically flares and can have active symptoms or in remissions with no symptoms or only a few of them.

Rheumatoid arthritis causes joint pain and swelling, redness, warmth and can affect other organs of the body like skin, eyes, lungs, heart, blood, nerves or kidneys. Rheumatoid arthritis affects approximately 1% of the population, in which 75% of those diagnosed are women. The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but scientists attribute this disease to a combination of genetic, environmental and hormonal factors.

The symptoms that distinguish rheumatoid arthritis from other forms of arthritis are inflammation and soft-tissue swelling of many joints at the same time. Thus, the pain of rheumatoid arthritis is usually worse in the morning compared to the classic pain of osteoarthritis where the pain worsens over the day as the joints are used. It is 4 times more common in smokers than non-smokers. More than two million people in the United States are affected by rheumatoid arthritis. This disease is three times more common in women than in men.

The main physical difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is that with osteoarthritis when the cartilage between the bone ends has worn thin the pain results from the bone ends rubbing together. And with rheumatoid arthritis the cartilage is not thinned but the fluid filled membrane surrounding the joint becomes inflamed and the bones can actually start eroding.

Some professionals also believe that rheumatoid arthritis can be caused from a trigger like an infection caused by bacterium or a virus in people that have the inherited tendency for the rheumatoid arthritis disease. Rheumatoid arthritis in a way, may be triggered through a virus, yet it is not something that is contagious and you cannot give it to other people, you cannot ?catch it?
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