The chronic inflammatory disease of rheumatoid arthritis may impact more than your joints. In certain patients, the disease can harm the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels of various bodily systems.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune and inflammatory illness that, due to an immune system error, causes inflammatory (painful swelling) in the afflicted areas of your body.

RA affects the joints predominantly, frequently many joints at a time. RA usually affects the hands, hands, and knees of joints. In the RA, the lining of the joint is inflamed and the joint tissue is damaged. This tissue injury can cause long-term or chronic discomfort, instability, and deformation (misshapenness).

Unlike wear and tear damage produced by arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints that can lead to bone defections and bone erosion. Other tissues in the body, including the lung, heart, and eyes, can also be affected by RA.

Rheumatoid arthritis inflammation can also cause harm to other regions of the body. Although new types of medicinal products substantially enhance treatment choices, severe rheumatoid arthritis can still cause physical impairment.

Signs and Symptoms of RA[i]

There are periods of aggravation of symptoms, known as flares, and of improvements called remissions in RA.

  • Joints that are aching, hot, and swollen
  • The most prevalent causes of joint stiffness are morning stiffness and inactivity.
  • Fever
  • Exhaustion
  • loss of appetite

The first to be affected by early rheumatoid arthritis are generally smaller joints, such as those which link your fingers and toes with your feet.

The disease often affects the sickles, knees, ankles, elbows, hips, and shoulders. In most cases, symptoms develop in the same articulations on either side of your body.

Roughly 40% of rheumatoid arthritis patients also experience signs and symptoms not associated with their joints. Some places that might be affected are as follows:

  • Nerve tissue
  • Bone marrow
  • Blood vessels
  • Skin
  • Eyes
  • Lungs
  • Kidneys
  • Salivary glands

The intensity of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms might vary, and they can come and go. Flares, or times of heightened disease activity, alternate with remissions, or periods when the swelling and discomfort decrease or vanish. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis distorts and moves joints.


Doctors do not know what this process begins, however, there seems to be a hereditary component. If rheumatoid arthritis is not caused by your genes, they can increase your chance of reacting to environmental factors — such as infections with some viruses and bacteria — that could develop this illness.

Sex: Women acquire rheumatoid arthritis more frequently than males.

Age: Rheumatoid arthritis can take place at any age but usually starts in the middle ages.

The history of the family: You may have an elevated risk of illness if your family member suffers from rheumatoid arthritis.

Smoking: The chance of getting rheumatoid arthritis, especially when you have a hereditary susceptibility to the condition is increased by cigarette smoking. Smoking also seems to be linked to the increased severity of the illness.

Overweight: Overweight people seem to be at a slightly increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

Exposures to Early Life: Certain early life exposures may raise the chance of adult RA development. For example, one study revealed that the chance of having RA as an adult was twice in children with smoking moms. The chance of having RA as an adult is higher for children with poorer income.

The hereditary characteristics of genetics: People who are born with certain genes tend to develop RA. These genes, often referred to as class II genotypes of HLA (human leukocyte antigen), might make your arthritis even worse. If people with these genes are exposed to environmental variables such as smoking or if a person is obese, the risk of RA may be greatest.

Your chance of having rheumatoid arthritis increases if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Dry eyes and mouth
  • Infections
  • Abnormal body composition
  • Heart problems.
  • Lung disease
  • Lymphoma


The objectives of the therapy of rheumatoid arthritis are:

  • Check the symptoms and indications of a patient.
  • Prevent injury to the joint.
  • Preserve the quality of life and functional capacity of the patient.

Effective medication and self-management techniques can be used and managed for RA. Treatment for RA mainly involves the use of medicaments called DMARDs that delay and prevent joint deformation; biological reaction modifiers are medicines that provide an effective second-line treatment. RA treatments often comprise drugs called DMARDs. Besides medicinal products, patients can control their RA using established self-management techniques that decrease suffering and handicap, enabling them to perform vital tasks. RA individuals can alleviate pain and improve joint function by learning to apply 5 easy and effective techniques to manage arthritis.

  • Learn Management Strategies for Arthritis.
  • Watch Your Weight.
  • Be Active.
  • Nutrition and dietary therapy
  • See Your Doctor.
  • Protect Your Joints.

There are several medicines for alleviating joint pain, swelling, and inflammation and for preventing or delaying disease growth. How bad your arthritis is and how well you respond is determined by the sort of drug your doctor suggests.


Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are examples of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines

Corticosteroids are a kind of steroid (oral and injectable forms)

Celecoxib (Celebrex) is a COX-2 inhibitor.

DMARDs, such as hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), methotrexate, sulfasalazine, and leflunomide, are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Methotrexate may take four to six weeks, sulfasalazine for one to two months, and hydroxychloroquine for two to three months to improve the symptoms.

Biologic agents, for example,

  • Infliximab (Remicade)
  • Etanercept (Enbrel)
  • Adalimumab (Humira)
  • certolizumab (Cimzia)
  • golimumab (Simponi)

For certain medicines, biologics work quickly, in two weeks, and take from four to six weeks. Biologics may be used alone or with additional DMARDs. It is commonly used for individuals who do not react to DMARDs well or whose prognosis is difficult to achieve (outlook).

Inhibitors of Janus kinase: This is a new DMARD subclass that blocks specific immunological reactions. These medications can be used by your health care practitioner if DMARDs and biological DMARDs do not work for you, to avoid inflammations and halt joint deterioration.