Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a serious, painful, and chronic (long-lasting) disease. It is an autoimmune disease - a disease where the body's immune system attacks healthy cells. When a person has RA, their immune system attacks the joints in the body. This causes different problems, like:
- The capsules around the joints get swollen
- The body makes too much synovial fluid (the special fluid that is supposed to cushion the joints)
- Tough fibrous tissue builds up in the synovium area (which is also supposed to help cushion the joints)
Eventually, RA can destroy a person's articular cartilage. Normally, articular cartilage covers the end of bones where they come together to form joints. This keeps the bones from rubbing against each other. If the articular cartilage has been destroyed by RA, the bones will rub against each other, which is very painful.
No one knows what causes RA. Women are three times more likely than men to get rheumatoid arthritis.
References[change | change source]
- Landré-Beauvais AJ (1800). La goutte asthénique primitive (doctoral thesis). Paris. reproduced in Landré-Beauvais AJ (2001). "The first description of rheumatoid arthritis. Unabridged text of the doctoral dissertation presented in 1800". Joint Bone spine 68 (2): 130–43. doi:10.1016/S1297-319X(00)00247-5. PMID 11324929.