The Definition of Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Padilla, Byers- Connon, Lohman (2012) define Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as a progressive autoimmune disease with onset in young adulthood or midlife. RA initially presents with inflammation and pain in the metacarpophalangeal and interphalangeal joints of the hands and eventually progresses to other organs. Signs and symptoms characteristic of RA include fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, deformities, overall achiness or stiffness that occurs on awakening, also indicates systemic involvement. The severity of the systemic symptoms usually matches the severity of joint involvement. As in many chronic diseases, a resulting depression or lack of motivation may also occur. In a small percentage of persons, the blood vessels, heart, lungs, or eyes may be involved. RA severely impairs functional performance and quality of life. According to Early (2013) the hands are the sites most severely affected by RA. However joint changes and deformities may occur at other sites as well. Sites for such deformities include: Thumb • CM- dislocation/subluxation • MP- swan neck and Boutonniere • IP- swan...

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