Rheumatoid arthritis

It is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. It mainly affects small joints, such as fingers and toes, but in some cases, it also affects the other joints in the body like the knee, ankle, etc. In this arthritis, the immune system attacks your own tissues, joints, and sometimes organs also. RA causes painful swelling, affects joint linings.

The inflammation associated with RA can cause bone deterioration and malalignment of joints over a long period. RA is often symmetrical as well. For example, if your right ankle is affected by RA then your left ankle will also be affected. This is a diagnosis criterion where doctors separate Rheumatoid arthritis from other types of arthritis.


  • Auto-immune: It occurs when your immune system attacks your own body tissues, In RA it commonly affects the synovium (lining of the membranes that surround your joints).
  • Cartilage and bone: Thickness of synovium due to inflammation can cause cartilage (the layer that covers the bone ends) damage.
  • Tendons and ligaments: As the disease progress, tendon/ligaments get stretched and gradually the shape of the joint deforms and alters the alignment.
  • Environmental factors: Some viral or bacterial infections can trigger the disease.

Risk factors

  • Sex: Females are more prone to have RA than males.
  • Age: Commonly affects people with middle age.
  • Family history: If any of your family members ( mother/father etc) is suffering from RA, Then you also have a risk for RA.
  • Smoking: Smoking can increase your risk for RA
  • Obesity: people who are 55 and younger and overweight – have a higher risk of RA.


  • Warmth around the joint
  • Stiffness – severe during cold weather or in the morning -Weakness or instability of the joint
  • Pain, Swelling, and difficulty in moving the affected joint
  • Creaking, clicking noises during the joint movements

Other symptoms of RA include:

  • Exhaustion Tingling or numbness in the feet or fingers
  • Dry mouth or dry eyes, Eye inflammation
  • Losing your appetite/Abnormal weight loss


It’s tough to diagnose RA in the early stages because its symptoms mimic other diseases. During physical examination, experts commonly check for swelling, tenderness, flexibility, warmth, and redness.

Blood tests: People with RA often have:-

  • Raised ESR or C-reactive protein
  • RA factor & anti-CCP antibodies.

Imaging tests

  • The severity of the disease is evaluated using x-rays, ultrasound or an MRI.


Treatments function well when RA is detected early, so understanding the signs and symptoms is very crucial. From symptoms and signs to home remedies, diets, and other therapies, you should be aware of everything about RA. While rheumatoid arthritis has no cure, physiotherapy and medicine will help delay the disease progression.

  • Drugs:
    • There are four main groups of drugs that are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. These are:
      • Painkillers
      • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
      • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
      • Steroids (also known as corticosteroids)
  • Surgery
    • Corrective Osteotomy
    • Joint Replacement Surgery

Complications of RA

  • RA can be a cause many other diseases like-
  • Osteoporosis
  • Rheumatoid nodules
  • Dry eyes and mouth
  • Infections
  • Abnormal body composition
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Heart problems
  • Lung disease
  • Lymphoma
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