More than 400,000 people in the UK suffer from rheumatoid arthritis – and it affects more women than men.
The most common age for men to develop RA is between 40 and 60, or a little older for men. But people can get it at any age, even from the age of 14 when it is called “early onset” arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis. If left untreated, it can cause irreversible damage to joints and lead to disability.
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The main symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are joint pain, swelling and stiffness. It can also cause more common symptoms and inflammation in other parts of the body.
There are also a number of ways in which the condition can occur on a person’s skin. In some people, firm swellings called rheumatoid bumps can also develop under the skin around affected joints.
Some people with RA will develop a rash. According to the Arthritis Foundation, inflammation of blood vessels affects the skin, resulting in a rash of small spots.
Other symptoms of RA include fatigue and lack of energy, high temperature, sweating, poor appetite and weight loss.
There are many different types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common, affecting about nine million people in the UK.
The NHS says it is important to seek an accurate diagnosis if you:
- joint pain tenderness and stiffness
- inflammation in and around the joints
- limited movement of the joints
- warm red skin over the affected joint
- weakness and muscle loss
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