Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) (room-ah-toyed arth-rye-tis) is a progressive form of arthritis that can be painfully destructive. RA may cause the interior joint tissues to swell and thicken. Over time the affected joint disintegrates leading to deformity. RA may appear during early middle age and is more common in women than men. The symptoms include fatigue, weakness, and loss of appetite, fever, and anemia. Upon rising joints are usually stiff, swollen, and tender. Medication is available to help relieve pain and inflammation. Regular exercise helps joints to function. Passive forms of physical therapy may help to increase joint mobility.
This article is an excerpt from the book Save Your Aching Back and Neck: A Patient’s Guide, edited by Dr. Stewart Eidelson.