RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS: DEFINING THE DISEASE

Sunday, April 10, 2011 11:13
Posted in category Arthritis
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For many, a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis brings more answers than questions, as this is a puzzling disease that even the experts do not fully understand.
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the movable joints. It differs from osteoarthritis in that it is not caused by wear and tear. Instead, it appears to be an autoimmune disorder the body’s own immune system produces antibodies against its tissues, causing inflammation and pain. Though it can be controlled, it can be progressive if left untreated. Most important, it is not a terminal illness if diagnosed early and treated appropriately. Generally, a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis affects people in the prime of their lives, striking most around the age of 40. A very important aspect of this disease is the way in which the joints are affected. It is a disorder of symmetry, which means that if your right wrist is affected, your left one will usually be affected as well.
Why the disorder is called rheumatoid arthritis?
Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Rheumatoid refers to the muscles and bones.
What does “polyarticular” arthritis mean?
“Polyarticular” means that the arthritis affects many joints. As mentioned above, this disease affects many joints in a symmetrical fashion. Doctors often use this fact as a determinant for diagnosis.
Why is it considered to he a chronic illness?
This disease is called a chronic illness because it lasts for the life of the patient.
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