Already with the first signs of rheumatoid arthritis or chronic polyarthritis, it is advisable to have the cause of the problems examined by a doctor. Even though the rheumatic disorder cannot yet be cured, the following is true: The earlier rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed and treated, the better consequential damage can be prevented.
Women are more frequently affected by rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is among the most common inflammatory disorders of the joints. Approximately 800 000 persons are affected in Germany; women develop the disorder three times as frequently as men. The chronic joint inflammation disorder can occur at any age; it is most frequently found in 30 to 50 year olds. Only a few weeks or months after rheumatoid arthritis breaks out, more and more joints and even the spinal column or bursae can be affected. Tiredness, fever, night time sweating and weight loss show that the entire body is battling the inflammatory process. In some cases, so called rheumatic nodes develop, and can be felt through the skin.
Causes of rheumatoid arthritis not yet explained
The causes of rheumatoid arthritis are still not explained. It is assumed that there is a disorder of the immune system. This means that the body’s own substances such as joint cartilage are attacked and destroyed by cells of the immune system. If the inflammation is not stopped, joint cartilage and bone increasingly disintegrate; the joints are destroyed. To lessen the activity of rheumatoid arthritis as well as occurring pain and prevent advancement of the illness, patients frequently receive therapy with medications, physiotherapy and psychological care.