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Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, & Complications

  • May 30,2022
  • 2 Min Read
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, & Complications

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means that your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation (painful swelling) in the affected parts of the body.

RA mainly attacks the joints, usually many joints at once.


With RA, there are times when symptoms get worse, known as FLARES, and times when symptoms get better, known as REMISSION.

  • Pain or aching in more than one joint
  • Stiffness in more than one joint
  • Tenderness and swelling in more than one joint
  • The same symptoms on both sides of the body (such as in both hands or both knees)
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Weakness


  • Age: RA can begin at any age but the onset of RA is highest among adults in their sixties.
  • Gender: RA is typically two-to-three times more common in women.
  • Genetics/inherited traits: People born with specific genes are more likely to develop RA. Also, If a member of your family has rheumatoid arthritis, you may have an increased risk of the disease.
  • Smoking: Cigarette smoking increases a person’s risk of developing RA and can make the disease worse.
  • Obesity: Being obese can increase the risk of developing RA.


RA is diagnosed by reviewing symptoms, conducting a physical examination, and doing X-rays and lab tests.

The lab tests include primarily 2 tests:

  • Anti-CCP (cyclic citrullinated peptide) antibody
  • Rheumatoid factor


Since RA is an autoimmune disease, it can have complications relating to many different organ systems. RA increases your risk of developing:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Rheumatoid nodules (can form anywhere in the body, including the heart and lungs)
  • Dry eyes and mouth
  • Abnormal body composition (The proportion of fat to lean mass is often higher in people who have RA, even in those who have a normal BMI.)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Heart problems
  • Lung disease

Joint pains should not be ignored.

Seek medical attention for rehumatioid arthritis (RA) today!


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