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Defining Rheumatoid Arthritis to most people arthritis means pain and stiffness in the joins Indeed if you trace the word arthritis to its Greek roots you will discover that it means inflammation itis of the joints arthron In practice the word is used to describe more than one hundred joint disorders many of which are not caused by inflammation at all There are several forms of arthritis which do begin as significant inflammation in the joints and this inflammation cause damage to the joints Rheumatoid Arthritis RA is one of the so called inflammatory for of arthritis With RA inflammation plays a major role in causing joint problems This inflammation can bring about warmth and swelling in the joints in addition to significant stiffness and pain It is believed that the inflammation of RA causes other problems too Peoples with RA often have such symptoms as fatigue low-grade fever decreased appetite depression and muscle aches along with pain and swelling in their joints In fact many people with RA say that they just dont feel well These people are describing malaise a vague feeling of illness This overall feeling of illness is common with RA because the condition is systemic meaning that it can affect more than one part of the body RA is also referred to as a chronic illness because if can last for months or years The joints in RA vary from one person to another For example some people have painful joints only in there hands whereas others may experience pain in there knees and feet One on the distinguishing characteristics of RA however is the particular pattern of specific joints that can potentially become affected Those most commonly involved in RA are finger joints wrists elbows shoulders some joints in the neck jaw hips knees ankles feet and toe joints RA most often affects the body symmetrically meaning that arthritis on one side of the body affects the
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