What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful inflammatory autoimmune disease that impacts the joints on both sides of your body as well as the surrounding tissue and organs. Inflammation results when a person’s immune system triggers an attack on the body’s healthy cells, resulting in painful swelling in the impacted areas. Over time, inflammation can damage the tissue, erode the bone, and deform the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis can affect many joints at a time and most commonly manifests in the hands, wrists, and knees. While some people experience more localized symptoms, some people with rheumatoid arthritis may experience more widespread damage to other systems of the body, like your eyes, skin, heart, or lungs. As symptoms worsen, a person can become disabled because of mobility and impairments from the joint deformities.