Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, which is when the body’s immune cells attack its own cells rather than invading or foreign ones. This disease affects the joints, specifically, and the resulting inflammation can be mildly painful to debilitating in nature. The causes of this illness are unclear, but heredity can be a factor. People who have close relatives with this illness, but other autoimmune illnesses that affect joints and soft tissue as well. Therefore, those patients with a family history of lupus, Sjogren’s disease or gout may also show an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
Autoimmune disorders tend to have a slightly higher incidence in women, although with rheumatoid arthritis, the incidence is closer to 75%. It is unclear why. It usually presents with symptoms in women between the ages of 40 and 60, but children can be diagnosed with the juvenile form of rheumatoid arthritis.
People who themselves have other autoimmune disorders may also be at a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Doctors tests for this disease by physical examination of the joints affected and by taking blood. Blood will be tested for antibodies responsible for causing the symptoms of the disease and the levels can help determine the severity.
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There are many herbs for arthritis that are helpful in reducing the inflammatory response, thereby assisting in reducing pain and swelling. Other herbs may help. Always check with your doctor before taking anything as it may interfere with medications.