How Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Affect the Whole Body
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune inflammatory condition that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling, is most noted for its effects on the body’s joints. But rheumatoid arthritis is also a systemic disease, meaning it can affect the whole body and lead to damage of major organs and even a shortened life span.
The earlier you begin medication treatment, the better your chances of halting joint damage, protecting your organs, and living a longer life without pain and disability, says Jonathan Greer, MD, a rheumatologist and an affiliate clinical professor of medicine at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale and affiliate clinical professor of biomedical sciences at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself.