Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a type of auto immune disease which affects joints but differs from osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs generally in elderly age groups whereas rheumatoid arthritis usually manifests at a younger age. RA may progress to a stage of bone deformities and chronic crippling. This disease primarily targets and damages the joints and to a lesser extent other organs. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to reduce permanent joint damage and the disability caused by this crippling disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Painful swelling of small joints (like those of the hands and fingers) with redness
- Stiffness of joints, especially in the mornings
- The swelling usually lasts for a few months
- Large joints such as elbows, shoulders and knees may also be affected but to a lesser extent
- The rheumatoid arthritis patient may also have a long-standing low-grade fever along with fatigue
- In advanced stages, joints get severely affected leading to deformities in the hands and the feet as well as hips and knees.