Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Introduction
RA is a condition which shows effects all over the body. Along with the joints, it affects the tissues surrounding the joints (muscles, tendons, ligaments) as well as other organs of the body (skin, blood vessels, heart, lungs, and muscles).
RA causes joint affections which most of the times are seen on both sides of the body. For example, if a joint, say ankle is affected in one leg then the same joint in the other leg will probably be affected. This is one of the distinguishing criteria of RA from other forms of arthritis like osteoarthritis.
RA is a chronic condition and tends to last for years together. Although there can be symptom-free periods in between it remains to be a progressive condition. The disease progresses over a period of time causing joint deformities, destruction, and functional disability.