Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
What affects 2 out of 100 people worldwide, yet has no known cause? Rheumatoid
arthritis--a systemic disease in which immune cells attack and inflame the coverings
around various joints. Like all autoimmune diseases, it is usually chronic
and it affects up to four times as many women as men.
Striking symptoms are inflamed, swollen, painful, or deformed joints. Unlike
osteoarthritis which generally affects few joints at a time, RA affects many
joints simultaneously. It can causes major impairments within 5 years of disease
onset and decreases life expectancy. RA can also affect many other organs in
Most people think of arthritis as a disease of aging, yet infants and children
can have Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, a much more serious form
of RA which affects more children in the US than juvenile diabetes. Some patients
go into remission, but most battle the symptoms for their entire lives. The
good news is that there are now breakthrough new therapies for adults and children
with rheumatoid arthritis.
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Created: 12/7/2000  - Donnica Moore, M.D.