RA is an autoimmune condition caused by the immune system attacking healthy body tissue. Many possible triggers can start the onset of RA. Your immune system normally makes antibodies that attack bacteria and viruses, helping to fight infection. In RA, the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue, including joints. In some severe cases, it attacks internal organs. Rheumatoid arthritis affects joint linings, causing painful swelling. Over long periods, the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis can cause bone erosion and joint deformity.
Do I Have Rheumatoid Arthritis?
RA is a complex disease that is diagnosed based upon a person’s history, exam, lab findings, and x-rays. This condition cannot be diagnosed based solely on lab tests and therefore may take your doctor multiple visits to confirm a diagnosis.