Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is a chronic inflammatory form of arthritis and an autoimmune disease. RA can affect many tissues and organs in the body, but it primarily attacks the joints, sometimes leading to permanent disability.
Who gets RA?
If RA goes untreated for 2 years the majority of people will develop joint erosion, indicating disease progression1
1.5 million adults in the US have RA1
3X as many women as men have RA1
The average time between onset of symptoms and diagnosis is 6-9 months1
What does RA look like?
RA usually affects joints symmetrically (on both sides equally), and most frequently attacks the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, knees and ankles
2/3 of RA patients have wrist and hand problems2
90% of RA patients develop symptoms in the foot and ankle3
What are some warning signs?
The symptoms and course of RA vary from person to person and can change on a daily basis, but may include1:
Swelling/Warmth/Redness at the affected joints
Low grade fever
Loss of appetite
Joint stiffness in the morning
1Arthritis Foundation. Arthritis Foundation.http://www.arthritis.org/ [Last accessed: December 19, 2016].
2American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis.http://www.assh.org/Public/HandConditions/Pages/ArthritisRheumatoidArthritis.aspx [Last accessed: December 19, 2016].
3American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Foot and Ankle.http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00163 [Last accessed: December 19, 2016].