Besides, the lining of the tissue joint can become thicker and thicker, and may wear away surrounding ligaments, cartilage and bone as it spreads. One of the structures that get severely damaged is the synovium in the joint. It becomes inflamed and causes swelling and pain. The main characteristic and the one that differentiates rheumatoid arthritis from osteoarthritis is that it usually occurs in a symmetrical pattern, in the sense that if one knee or hand has it, the other one also have it. This disease is a systemic disease that often affects extra-articular tissues all through the body including the skin, blood vessels, heart, lungs, and muscles. Studies show that about 60% of rheumatoid arthritis patients are unable to work 10 years after the onset of their disease (Wikipedia, n. pag, 2007).
The epidemiological studies show that the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis occurs in 3 persons in a population of 10,000 every year. While the onset of this disease is very uncommen under the are of 15 it increases with age until the age of 80. Among men and women, women is affected three to five times as often as men. It is also estimated that the prevalence of the disease is 4 times more common in smokers than non-smokers (Wikipedia, n. pag, 2007).
Though several studies have been conducted around the world to pinpoint the causes of rheumatoid arthritis, none of them are successful. ...Show more