Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when your immune system attacks your own body tissue.
Where osteoarthritis is more due to “wear-and-tear”, rheumatoid arthritis is associated with chronic inflammation – effecting mainly the lining of joints, but also the blood vessels, heart, lungs, skin, and eyes. It causes painful swelling and can eventually result in bone erosion, joint deformity, and loss of joint function.
Smaller joints, like those in your fingers and toes, are affected first, whereafter symptoms often spread to wrists, ankles, elbows, knees, shoulders, and hips.
Symptoms include tender, warm and swollen joints – that feel uncomfortable and stiff (usually worse after inactivity, like mornings). It also causes fatigue, fever and weight loss.
Physiotherapy helps relief pain – especially when due to dislocated joints. A targeted exercise programme is very beneficial.