RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS – INTRODUCTION
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition of joints and is usually slow in onset (insidious). It involves more than one joint at a time (polyarthritis). Though initially, only small, peripheral joints (such as finger joints) later on, as the disease progresses, other joints (wrist, knees, toes etc.) may also get affected.
The pattern of joint involvement is characteristically symmetrical (i.e. same joints on both sides of the body are affected). The onset of symptoms at the joints is usually preceded by a feverish feeling, loss of appetite, fatigue and a general feeling of being unwell.
EXTENT OF PROBLEM
Rheumatoid arthritis, one of the most common forms of arthritis has affected approximately 6 million people world wide. 2.1 million people in U.S. and approximately 3% of the entire population of U.K. has been reported as suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis.