The immune system, which is responsible for protecting the body against viruses, foreign invaders, and bacteria, goes viral. Unable to distinguish between bad or good, the immune system begins attacking friendly tissue and, in this case – healthy joints.
As fluid begins to build up and cartilage is slowly worn away, it causes debilitating pain, decreased range of motion, and swelling. Depending on the individual and severity of symptoms, rheumatoid arthritis causes increased spikes of inflammation, known as flares, which switch back and forth into remission. And because it is systemic, rheumatoid arthritis has the ability to spread throughout the entire body. In order to avoid further joint and organ damage, early diagnosis and prevention is key.