Photo Credit: nandyphotos / istockphoto.com
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis
As an autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis, and another one of the more common varieties of arthritis. The body attacks the synovial fluid within the joints—this is the fluid that lubricates and cushions the joints during movement.
Rheumatoid arthritis can affect any joint, but is often found in the hands, wrists, and feet. Some cases will see an impact to internal organs as well, such as the eyes, lungs, or heart. This disease typically impacts joints on both sides of the body and can lead to deformities in the affected joints.
Like other varieties of arthritis, symptoms include redness, pain, swelling, or the feeling of heat in the lining of a joint. Unlike other types of arthritis, symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite. The pain may last for months, but there may be periods where you are symptom-free. Untreated rheumatoid arthritis has significant morning stiffness that can last from half an hour to several hours.
Treatment will depend on age, overall health, and the severity of the disease. Anti-inflammatory drugs and other immune-controlling medications can help ease symptoms, along with physical therapy or surgery.