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What is RA

August 20th, 2011 | Posted by in Rheumatoid Arthritis - (4,619 Comments)

An Overview of RA

Nearly 2.1 million American have rheumatoid arthritis, according to Cedars-Sinai.  Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of disease in which the body attacks itself.  In this case, the body attacks the joints between the bones.  It is a chronic disease that results in swollen, painful inflammation of many joints of the body.

Sometimes surgery is necessary to replace the joints because the destruction becomes so severe.  RA can strike at any age, and it is more likely to strike women than men.  Complications from rheumatoid arthritis are common, but advances in medicine, treatment and screening are making the prognosis better than before.

What is RA?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease which means that your body’s own immune system starts attacking the joints of your body.  Your body attacks the synovium, a thin membrane around your joints, and this causes pain, inflammation and swelling.  RA affected joints can lead to total destruction of the joint and the need for joint replacement surgery.  Rheumatoid arthritis also affects other organs in your body and can lead to such diseases as diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.

This is a painful disease that has no known cause or cure.  Treatment is primarily supportive of symptoms.  Pain management is most important, but protection of the joints from further destruction is also vital.  Immune suppression drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs and other treatments from conventional and complementary medicine are often used to provide relief to those who have RA.  RA can come in flare ups and remissions, so the goal of treatment is to achieve long-lasting remission.