The disease is more than twice as common in women as in men. It can strike at any age, but it usually develops between the age of 35~55.
Who is the risk: prolonged stress, hormonal changes, a viral or bacterial infection, or other environmental factors that stimulate the immune system to attack normal tissue.
If the disease progresses, bones and ligaments can permanently wear away. The heart, lung, muscles, and skin can become damaged, and there`s an increased risk for blood or lymph cancers.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease in which the immune system goes awry and attacks the joints and other normal body tissue.
White blood cells---especially T-helper cells---that normally protect against infection rush to the joints and attack their lining, the synovial tissue, as if it were a foreign invader.
The lining becomes thick and inflamed, resulting in painful swelling and progressive destructive process extends into the underlying bone, and the supporting muscles, ligaments, and tendons weaken.
The joints become increasingly painful, stiff, and deformed, and nard nodules often form over them. Usually on one or both sides of the body in ankles, knee, fingers, wrists, toe, elbows and/or neck, numbness and/or tingling, there may be a low-grade fever, other possible complications include eye inflammation, vacuities, anemia, and pleurisy and/or pericarditis.
Symptoms are usually most severe in the morning, an acute flare-up may
last weeks or months, periods when symptoms disappear and then recur.