RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS (RA; in Latin called: Polyarthrtis rheumatoidea) is a chronic, creeping and unfortunately still incurable inflammatory disease of the joints and other systems of human body. According to the statistics RA affects about 1% of the population. For example in Poland with population about almost 38 mln of people, we have between 132000 – 400 000 of patients suffering from RA. How many people are still not diagnosed and do not know about their illness?… it remains a very good question…...
RA affects ladies (females) 3 times more frequently than gentlemen (males).
The disease is slowly destroying your joints. It can destroy almost every joint in our body, even the temporomandibular joint (the joint of the mandible) and even the laryngeal joints (the joints of the larynx) that can cause hoarseness. RA very often almost in every patients affects proximal interphalangeal joints of the hand (proximal interphalangeal articulations; PIP, PIJ) and metacarpophalangeal joints (MCP), often knees, shoulders and feet.
But on the other hand, what is very interesting and important, rheumatoid arthritis NEVER concerns and NEVER destroys distal interphalangeal joints of human hand (distal interphalangeal articulations, DIP, DIJ)!
Never these joints!
But please remember that distal interphalangeal joints are very often attacked in psoriatic arthritis (that is one of the clinical symptoms that differentiates those two illnesses).
RA can affect also:
1) cardiovascular system,
2) respiratory system,
4) can lead to amyloidosis,
5) can lead to vasculitis,
6) can lead polyneuropathy,
7) can lead to Felty' syndrome,
8) is a risk factor of carpal tunnel syndrome,