FAQ: What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

4 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Expert Answers

Dr. Leslie Kernisan is the author of a popular blog and podcast at BetterHealthWhileAging.net. She is also a clinical instructor in the University of California, San Francisco, Division of Geriatrics.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that usually affects the lining of certain joints, especially those in the hands. The related inflammation often causes pain and swelling and, if left untreated, can result in permanent damage to the joints and in eventual disability.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that it's caused by the body's immune system incorrectly attacking certain parts of the body. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis isn't well understood, although experts suspect a combination of genetic factors and environmental triggers. Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than in men, and it's usually diagnosed in people aged 30 to 60.

Although joint pain is the most common symptom, rheumatoid arthritis can also cause other symptoms. These may include:

  • Morning stiffness, lasting an hour or more.

  • Fatigue, fever, and/or weight loss.

  • Firm bumps under the skin (known as nodules), which are usually painless but can be tender.

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, like those of many autoimmune diseases, often wax and wane on their own. Doctors refer to this as the rheumatoid arthritis being more or less "active."

It's important to get rheumatoid arthritis diagnosed early, since treatment of the inflammation can help stop or delay joint damage and can control symptoms.

Community Answers

Mimulusman answered...

There's some reporting that RA can be caused by a localized reaction to partially digested food molecules leaking through the gut and into specific cartilages as a function of the cartilage pore size, and being attacked by the immune system.

Some foods implicated include milk proteins, wheat, and solanaceous vegetables, especially when consumed regularly in larger amounts.

It costs little except effort, mindfulness, and family cooperation to remove one of these classes of food from one's diet for a few weeks and see if it makes any difference. If improvement, keep consumption of that food minimal. If no improvement, try one of the other groups, or make your own experiments!

Substantially eliminating my exoposure to these foods has helped me a lot! (I also take Ranexa)

Gregmiller answered...

Dr. A. V. Constantini, M.D. with the World Health Organization states that rheumatoid arthritis is a fungal infection. Maybe this is why the doctors cannot cure it.

He also states that, "fungal infections are the most overlooked medical problem in the world." He says this is why in the 1960s when the doctors learned Clinical Mycology in Medical School we had only 5 autoimmune diseases. Now that they no longer take this class and do not know Clinical Mycology we have 95 autoimmune diseases. He makes some very compelling points. I wonder why doctors do not try anti-fungal meds for some of these autoimmune diseases instead of discounting Dr. Constantini's remarks and publications. See "Fungalbionics."

Shelli711 answered...

I agree w/ Dr. A. V. Constantini, M.D...