Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. The immune system attacks your own body tissues.

Typically, rheumatoid arthritis affects the small joints of the hands, feet and wrists, but it can also cause problems in other parts of the body.

Most commonly it appears after the age of 40 and is a more common condition for women.



The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis vary from person to person. Symptoms appear gradually, but there are cases when the progression is faster. When the inflammation is worse, one gets so-called flares. Other symptoms are:

  • pain in the joints
  • stiffness
  • swelling, redness, warmth
  • tiredness, lack of energy
  • high temperature
  • sweating
  • poor appetite, weight loss
  • dry eyes or chest pain if the eyes or lungs are affected, respectively



The cause of rheumatoid arthritis lies in the immune system, which attacks the cells that line your joints by mistake, making them swollen, stiff and painful. It is not known what is the cause for this mistake of the immune system.


Risk Factors

The risk factors of rheumatoid arthritis are:

  • age
  • family history
  • Sex



The complications of rheumatoid arthritis arise from the inflammation, which can spread to other organs, too. Possible complications include:

  • osteoporosis
  • carpal tunnel syndrome, when rheumatoid arthritis affects the wrists and pressures the nerve for movement of the hand and fingers
  • lung disease
  • heart disease, in terms of blocking arteries or inflammation of the sac around the heart
  • stroke

Given these possible complications, rheumatoid arthritis should be kept under control in order to reduce the possibility of their development.