BONE & JOINT DISORDERS (ARTHRITIS)
RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS – INTRODUCTION
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory disease that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, loss of function and deformity in the joints. As it is a systemic disease, areas outside the joints may also get involved for example membranes surrounding internal organs, such as the heart, lungs or eyes.
Some of the unique features are:
- It may begin by 25 years of age and usually before 50 years of age.
- Involves the joints symmetrically i.e. joints on both sides of the body.
- Usually affects the small joints of the the hand, wrist, elbow, foot or ankle.
- Causes inflammation resulting in pain and swelling of joints where the joint is red, warm and tender.
- May cause overall tiredness, weight loss and occasional fever.