Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is it?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that targets the body’s joints and surrounding tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis slowly and painfully destroys the joints, distorting them, rendering them near useless.
Who is affected?
Rheumatoid arthritis is two times more common in women than men and can occur at any age. About 1% of the U.S. population has rheumatoid arthtitis. Male cases are also more severe than female cases.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Ø Weakness
Ø Fatigue
Ø Stiffness in morning (at least one hour)
Ø Appetite loss
Ø Body-wide muscle aches
Ø Joint pain

rheumatoid_arthritis_pic2.jpgWhere does rheumatoid arthritis strike?
It can affect any joint, but it commonly occurs in the wrists and fingers. Rheumatoid arthritis targets the joint, its tissue, and the cartilage. It is also has symmetrical tendencies; if one hand has been affected, the other hand is usually affected too.
How does the disease affect the body?
As an autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis sends immune cells into joints and joint-tissues that cause inflammation, making the joint swell. As more cells attack the joints, the cartilage begins to wear and more inflammation occurs, causing irritation. In later stages the cartilage is worn down completely, causing the bones to painfully rub against each other, destroying the joints. This bone damage is in many cases irreversible. The true cause of rheumatoid arthritis is still unknown, though.
When does rheumatoid arthritis occur?
Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age, but it most commonly appears during a person's middle age. However, once rheumatoid arthritis is contracted, the destruction of the joints as seen above happens within one to two years.

Discussion Question
Why do you think rheumatoid arthritis favors bodily symmetry?

Citations (Sources Used)