Overview

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemin inflammatory autoimmune disease that causes pain and disfigurement of peripheral joints. The disease may alternate between “flares” and periods of remission, but is generally progressive.

Symptoms

What are the signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Common signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis includes:

Malaise

Malaise

Join inflammation or stiffness

Join inflammation or stiffness

Morning stiffness lasting more than one hour

Morning stiffness lasting more than one hour

 Arthritis of more than three joints

Arthritis of more than three joints

Weight loss

Weight loss

Finger deformities

Finger deformities

Fatigue

Fatigue

Cartilage breakdown and/or bone erosion

Cartilage breakdown and/or bone erosion

Causes

What are the causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

The direct cause of why the immune system attacks the joints is unknown. However, it appears that your genes may play a role. Other factors that may contribute to developing this disease are:

Hormone imbalance

Hormone imbalance

Infection (caused by an unknown bacteria or virus)

Infection (caused by an unknown bacteria or virus)

Emotional distress

Emotional distress

Environmental triggers (e.g. cigarette smoke or pollutants)

Environmental triggers (e.g. cigarette smoke or pollutants)

Diagnosis

How do I know if I have Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Diagnosing RA can take time and may require multiple pathology tests to confirm. Your healthcare provider will use several tools to diagnose RA. Your doctor is likely to ask you about your medical and family history and perform a physical exam to assess your joints. Your practitioner may also refer for the following tests to assist with diagnosis:

Rheumatoid Factor (RF)

Rheumatoid Factor (RF)

Antinuclear antibody test (ANA)

Antinuclear antibody test (ANA)

C-reactive protein test

C-reactive protein test

Find a Practitioner

See a list of practitioners who specialise in treating Rheumatoid Arthritis