· Overview of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis, while less common than osteoarthritis, is a serious and very painful joint disease, often resulting in crippling disabilities, for young and old alike. Rheumatoid Arthritis incapacitates the synovial tissue, which is the membrane that lines joints and secretes the lubricant that normally allows bones to move painlessly against other bones. With this condition, joints-most commonly the small joints of the hand become tender, swollen, even deformed. Night sweats, depression, and lethargy are among the other symptoms. Over time, Rheumatoid Arthritis can also spread to other parts of the body.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 2.1 million people in the United States, most often being women. The condition usually starts between the ages of twenty and fifty, although it can begin at any age.
· Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include: fatigue, low grade fever, weakness, joint stiffness, and vague joint pain. These symptoms can lead to the appearance of painful, swollen joints within several weeks,
· Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is classified as an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own tissue. "A primary cause of most rheumatoid arthritis appears to be a delayed food allergy and the often related problem of abnormal permeability of the intestinal wall." According to Dr. Braly, M.D., Medical Director of Immuno Labs, Inc., of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
According to Dr. Braly, this abnormal permeability allows incompletely digested food particles to pass through the walls of the digestive tract and into the bloodstream, where, if not cleared, they are eventually deposited in tissue. There they can cause an inflammatory reaction, and, because the body is allergic to the deposited food particles, an autoimmune disturbance in which the body's own immune system begins to attack the tissue around the joints.
Other causes of rheumatoid arthritis include genetic susceptibility, lifestyle factors, nutritional factors, food allergies, and microorganisms. There may also be an association between rheumatoid arthritis and abnormal bowel function.