Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease that is dependent on the body’s immune system. The immune system plays a crucial role in fighting infections as well as protecting the body from harmful constituents such as bacteria and other virus producing substances. While the immune system is programmed to attack foreign substances, it sometimes attacks itself. This is known as an autoimmune disease. In Rheumatoid Arthritis, for instance, the immune system attacks the joints, therefore leading to swelling, inflammation, and pain in the affected areas. It is most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 30 and 50. According to the CDC, about 1.5 million Americans currently suffer from the disease but the incidence of Rheumatoid Arthritis is steadily increasing, especially among females.
Areas usually effected by Rheumatoid Arthritis involve joints located in elbows, wrists, hands, knees, ankles and shoulders in a symmetrical manner, meaning that the joints that are effected on the right side of the body are also affected on the left side of the body. Without proper medication or treatment, Rheumatoid Arthritis can become detrimental by causing the cartilage to break down, leading to joint distortion and immobility.