Rheumatoid Arthritis, often referred to as RA is an inflammatory diseases but not life threatening. However, you can say that it is life reducing, if not controlled at the right time. With modern medicines, inflammation caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) can be effectively controlled by modern medicines. However, it cannot be cured.

Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown.
  • Infectious agents such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi have long been suspected, but none has been proven as the cause.
  • It is believed that the tendency to develop Rheumatoid arthritis might be genetically inherited.
  • It is also suspected that certain infections or factors in the environment might trigger the activation of the immune system in susceptible individuals. This misdirected immune system then attacks the body’s own tissues. This leads to inflammation in the joints and sometimes in various organs of the body, such as the lungs or eyes.
  • Environmental factors also seem to play some role in causing rheumatoid arthritis. For example, scientists have reported that smoking tobacco increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms to recognise Rheumatoid Arthritis at an early stage

The symptoms differ from individual to individual but some of the commons symptoms in patients that have reported to me are:

  • RA is recognised by early morning stiffness of the joints of hands and feet.
  • Joint swelling and pain last for more than 6 weeks.
  • It may be associated with fever and fatigue.
  • Loss of weight

If these symptoms occur, one should approach a Rheumatologist immediately to confirm the diagnosis and further management of the disease. He might suggest blood tests as certain antibodies related to RA are found in the blood and can be recognised by blood tests.