Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) causes joint inflammation and pain—and occurs when the immune system doesn’t work properly and attacks the joints. RA typically affects more women than men, and it usually develops in middle age. Also, if you have a family member with RA, your likelihood of having it increases.
People with RA begin to experience tenderness and pain in their joints. Additional symptoms include:
- Joint pain, tenderness, swelling or stiffness that lasts for six weeks or longer
- Morning stiffness that lasts for 30 minutes or longer
- Multiple joints affected
- Small joints—wrists, certain joints in the hands and feet—are typically affected first.
- The same joints on both sides of the body are affected
- Low-grade fever
To see if you have RA, you should schedule an appointment with a rheumatologist. During this appointment, there will be a physical examination, a review of your medical history, and blood tests performed to get a diagnosis.
Your healthcare provider will come up with a treatment course to help manage the symptoms of RA.