Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that manifests in the form of a chronic inflammation disorder that mainly affects the joints. The disease occurs when your bodys immune system, which normally fights against harmful bacteria and viruses, mistakenly attacks the joints. This causes painful swelling in your joints lining, resulting in erosion and joint deformity.
In most cases, rheumatoid arthritis affects the joints of the hands and feet. However, unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease and can affect any part of the body including the eyes, skin, heart, and blood vessels. Rheumatoid arthritis usually begins during middle age, and is more common in women than men. However, its symptoms are more serious in men than in women.
You may experience an overall feeling of tiredness before any other symptoms show. This feeling is caused by disease activity, inflammation, and medications. Due to this fatigue, a person with rheumatoid arthritis may become less active, which only worsens the fatigue and may lead to depression. Therefore, people with rheumatoid arthritis are advised to be more physically and mentally active. Other symptoms associated with fatigue include loss of appetite and weight loss.