Rheumatoid Arthritis Essay

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Rheumatoid Arthritis or (RA) is an autoimmune disease that attacks the joints and connective tissue. The result is inflammation that produces permanent damage in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic syndrome that tends to be progressive and destructive as compared to Osteoarthritis or (OA), which is more of an age related disease caused by “wear and tear” of the joints. In contrast to (OA), rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by inflammation mostly of the joints, but is a general body disease.
The type of joint that is chronically affected is the synovial joint. The bones that are at a synovial joint are covered by articular cartilage; which reduces friction and absorbs shock. The space between the articulating bones is
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     A person’s general feeling of wellness is affected. One may become easily tired, fatigued, and wake up stiff in the morning. Everyday chores

may become more and more difficult. It is important to treat and diagnose rheumatoid arthritis as soon as possible. The joint damage of rheumatoid arthritis is not just progressive, but is hidden. The amount of joint damage increases quickly. The synovial membrane thickens and accumulates synovial fluid, which can cause pain and tenderness in the peripheral joints. The membrane then produces an abnormal granulation tissue called pannus.
The pannus adheres to the articular cartilage and erodes it away and also causes distortion. In fact 93% of people with rheumatoid arthritis show major erosion within two years. In severe cases of rheumatoid arthritis the cartilage is completely worn away and the bone ends ossify. The joint fuses together and becomes completely immovable.
     People who have rheumatic diseases should see a rheumatologist in order to determine the precise form of arthritis and the stage of the disease. General physical examination is necessary, beyond that there is a specific rheumatic disease exam that include blood tests, x-rays, and a complete exam of the joints. Blood tests are helpful to confirm diagnosis because they can check for factors that are typical of other chronic diseases as well as specific for
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