Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Affect Anyone
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a common disease, affecting over 1.3 million Americans. However, not many people know exactly what it is or how it is caused. Today, we at OAZ will discuss the differences between RA and other forms of arthritis that attack a person’s joints.
Most arthritis is a natural part of aging caused by wear and tear. Bones and joints are protected by cartilage, but if that cartilage wears away, the bones rub against one another. This causes the pain associated with arthritis.
RA is an autoimmune disease. This disease occurs when your immune system attacks healthy parts of your body, such as the joints and their protective layer known as the synovium. RA causes the area to swell and become misshaped and the swelling moves joints out of alignment often making it painful to move. The biggest difference between RA and regular forms of arthritis is that RA does not just affect joints. Rheumatoid Arthritis also affects muscles, ligaments and organs, such as the heart and eyes.
While the cause of RA is unknown some risk factors have been identified:
- Women are 75 percent more likely to develop RA
- There is a higher risk for women who have never given birth or recently given birth
- It can happen at any age
- It is most common between the ages of 40 and 60
- Smoking increases the risk
- Family history increases the risk
Click here for more information on RA courtesy of the Arthritis Foundation. US News and World Report recently published an article from John Hopkins Medicine on arthritis. In the story, you will find videos discussing RA and interviews with people battling the disease.