What is Rheumatoid Arthritis/RA?
According to the Arthritis Foundation, RA is a chronic disease mainly characterized by inflammation of the lining of the joints. It can lead to long-term joint damage. It is a systemic disease that can effect other organs in the body.
It progresses in 3 stages:
Stage1: Swelling of the synovial lining causing pain, warmth, stiffness and redness around the joint.
Stage 2: Rapid division and growth of cells which causes the synovium to thicken.
Stage 3: Inflamed cells release enzymes that may digest bone and cartilage
RA effects 1.3 million Americans.
According to the CDC, in 1997, RA accounted for 22% of deaths due to arthritic and other rtheumatic conditions