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"You just do it. You force yourself to get up. You force yourself to put one foot before the other, and God damn it, you refuse to let it get to you. You fight. You cry. You curse. Then you go about your business of living. That's how I've done it. There's no other way."

Read more about my own personal journey with Rheumatoid HERE

 

 

Rheumatoid arthritis, sometimes referred to as Rheumatoid disease, is a chronic (long lasting), progressive and disabling autoimmune disease that causes inflammation (swelling) and pain in the joints, the tissue around the joints, and other organs in the human body. Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the joints in the hands and feet first, but any joint may become affected. Patients with Rheumatoid commonly have stiff joints and feel generally unwell and tired.

Rheumatoid is an autoimmune disease. Our immune system is a complex organization of cells and antibodies designed to seek out and destroy organisms and substances which harm us, such as infections. When our immune system starts attacking our own bodies, mistaking body tissues for foreign invaders, we have an autoimmune disease.

 

 

 

 

 

Individuals with an autoimmune disease have antibodies in their blood which target their own body tissues, resulting in inflammation. The immune system of a patient with rheumatoid arthritis attacks the lining of the joints, causing them to swell (become inflamed). As opposed to the wear-and-tear damage which occurs with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of the joints, resulting in painful swelling that can lead to bone erosion and joint deformity. Eventually the affected joints may become permanently damaged.

Rheumatoid is referred to as a systemic illness. Systemic means it affects the entire body; in the case of Rheumatoid, multiple organs in the body can be affected. The patient may also have fevers and experience fatigue. Rheumatoidmay also produce diffuse (spreading) inflammation in the lungs, the membrane around the lungs (pleura), pericardium (a double-walled sac that contains the heart and the roots of the great blood vessels) and the tough white outer coat over the eyeball (sclera); it can produce nodular lesions, most commonly in subcutaneous tissue under the skin.