Arthritis is a broad term that describes inflammation of the joints (pain, swelling and redness). Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease of immune system. Patient with Rheumatoid arthritis suffer from multiple joint pains and swelling. In severe cases RA can affect eyes, lungs, heart, nerves or blood vessels.

1. What are the symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis

The most common symptoms of RA are:

· Pain in multiple joints

· Stiffness on getting up after a period of inactivity or in the morning

· Swelling in one or more joints

· Joint pains worse with rest, better with use

· Fatigue /difficulty in performing routine activities

The most common joints involved are the hands, wrists and feet. The stiffness in the morning generally lasts longer than 45 minutes.

2. How common is rheumatoid arthritis?

In the general population about a 1 in 100 people develop RA. It is three times more common in women than in men.

3. What causes rheumatoid arthritis?

RA is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disorder occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks patient’s own healthy body tissue. In Rheumatoid arthritis body's immune system attacks normal joint tissues, causing swelling of the joint lining. Once the disease begins the joints become inflamed and, if untreated, the joints, cartilage, and bone can be damaged.

4. Is rheumatoid arthritis hereditary?

If you have a td family member with RA then your risk of developing RA is higher than the general population.You should see a rheumatologist if you have joint symptoms.

5. Is RA a disease of old people?

No. RA is most common in young and middle-aged adults but can also affect children and the elderly.

6. Is there any relation with climate?

Many people think that weather in winter may aggravate the arthritis. This is a misconception. Cold weather may cause more stiffness in the joints, but it will not aggravate or precipitate the arthritis.