Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease in which the body’s immune system – which normally attacks foreign bacteria and viruses – mistakenly attacks joints.
3 out of 4 people diagnosed are women.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that can cause pain, swelling and stiffness in joints and is estimated to affect 1% of the population.It can be a disabling and painful condition, which can lead to substantial loss of functioning and mobility if not adequately treated.
It is what is known as an auto-immune condition. This means that the immune system, which is the body’s natural self-defence system, gets confused and starts to attack your body’s healthy tissues. In rheumatoid arthritis, the main way it does this is with inflammation in your joints.
RA can also produce diffuse inflammation in the lungs, the membrane around the heart, the membranes of the lung, and white of the eye, and also nodular lesions, most common in subcutaneous tissue.
People usually notice the first signs of RA between the ages of 25 and 50. The disease is about three times more common in women than men.