What is RA?

rheumatoid arthritis

What is RA?

So what is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?

Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age.

Now, let me clear up the huge misconception that RA is just like the pain you have in your knee, which is actually Osteoarthritis.

I'm FineOsteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time.

Osteoarthritis causes cartilage — the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint — to break down. Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips, and spine. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system does not recognize the synovial fluid in the joints and attacks, beginning with the lining of joints causing them to break down.
You can actually have both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA causes pain and swelling in the wrist and small joints of the hand and feet.

RA can be tested for quickly by a simple blood test to see if you have the associated autoantibodies, however, there are many cases of patients with RA that had autoantibody-negative RA.

RA affects more than 1.3 million Americans. About 75% of RA patients are women. In fact, 1 – 3% of women may get rheumatoid arthritis in their lifetime. The disease most often begins between the ages of 30 and 50. However, RA can start at any age.

RA is a chronic disease that causes joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and decreased movement of the joints. Small joints in the hands and feet are most commonly affected. Sometimes RA can affect your organs, such as the eyes, skin, or lungs.

Other signs and symptoms that can occur in RA include:

  • Loss of energy
  • Low fevers
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry eyes and mouth from a related health problem, Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Firm lumps called rheumatoid nodules, which grow beneath the skin in places such as the elbow and hands

Me, I’m 51 and I have fibromyalgia and RA and there are still some symptoms that I have that aren’t explained by either fibro or RA.

Right now, we have discovered that I have linear scarring/subsegmental atelectasis at the left lung base. This is likely the reason why I’m often out of breath and feel like I can’t get a full breath. I have had radiating pain in my hands, wrist, and elbows along with my feet, ankles and knees for many years now. I start treatment very soon and hopefully will not have long-lasting effects. Only time will tell at this point.

Flare Bingo

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.