Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects more that 1.3 million Americans. About 75% of those affected are women, with up to 3% of women getting rheumatoid arthritis in their lifetime. The disease is most common between the ages of 40-60, but it can start at any age.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that occurs when your immune system attacks the synovium, resulting in the thickening of the synovium, which can destroy the surrounding cartilage and bone.
Symptoms in the joints include:
Early rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect the small joints in the hands or feet before progressing to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders.
About 40% of people exhibit symptoms that don’t involve joints, most commonly in the skin, lungs, kidneys, eyes and heart.
There is no known cure, but with early treatment remission of symptoms is more likely. Treatments include:
Low-impact aerobic exercise is recommended to reduce pressure on the joints and boost muscle strength around the joints. People with rheumatoid arthritis that live an active lifestyle are less likely to exhibit symptoms.
The most common symptom is a stabbing pain near the heel of your foot, which usually occurs early in the morning or after not moving for a while. As you begin to move and loosen up the pain usually subsides as the day goes on