The synovium makes a fluid that lubricates joints and helps them move smoothly. If inflammation goes unchecked, it can damage cartilage, the elastic tissue that covers the ends of bones in rheumatoid arthritis early joint, as well as the bones themselves. Over time, there is loss of cartilage, and the joint spacing between bones can become smaller.
Joints can become loose, unstable, painful and lose their mobility. Joint deformity also can occur. Joint damage cannot be reversed, and because it can occur early, doctors recommend early diagnosis and aggressive treatment to control RA. Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects the joints of the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees and ankles. The joint effect is usually symmetrical. That means if one knee or hand if affected, usually the other one is, too.
Because RA also can affect body systems, such as the cardiovascular or respiratory systems, it is called a systemic disease. Who’s Affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis? Nearly three times as many women have the disease as men. In women, RA most commonly begins between ages 30 and 60. In men, it often occurs later in life. RA have no family history of the disease. 526 0 0 0 1.