RA is an autoimmune disease. This means
that the immune system attacks the body’s healthy tissues. In RA, this causes
inflammation of the joints that can cause bone erosion, deformities and
disability. RA is also known as a systemic disease, as it can also affect
internal organs. At present, we don't know what causes
RA, although theories
include a genetic predisposition and a triggering event.
Uncontrolled RA comes with high levels
of chronic pain, and damaged joints cause pain, as well. In addition, there is
a significant fatigue factor. RA affects approximately 1% of the population –
that’s about 1.3 million in the US - and affects women almost three times more
often than men. It usually develops between the ages of 30 and 60 and can also
affect children. You can read more in MyRACentral's basics of RA area.
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