Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Explained

What is RA?

Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints. Two types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and RA. OA, the more common type, affecting 1 in 10 Canadians, and the one most people think of when they hear the term "arthritis," affects mainly the joints and bones. RA, however, can affect many more parts of the body. If it is not treated early, RA has the potential to result in serious joint damage. RA may come on suddenly or appear slowly over time. Its symptoms may include pain, swelling, stiffness in the joints, joint heat, and nodules or lumps under your skin, and fatigue associated with the above symptoms. How quickly RA progresses and how severe it is differs from person to person.

RA is a disease of the immune system. In RA, the immune system attacks the body's own healthy cells, mistaking them for cells that don't normally belong to the body. This causes inflammation in the lining and connective tissues of the joints.

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"Now I'm out and talking more about my arthritis. If I can understand my disease, and be vocal about it, maybe I can help someone else.
—ENBREL RA patient

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