Rheumatoid Arthritis

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an illness that occurs over a long period of time. It causes inflammation of the joints and nearby tissues, and can affect the organs.

No one knows what causes rheumatoid arthritis, but it is considered to be a disease of the immune system. Ordinarily our immune system is meant to fight foreign bodies, such as viruses or bacteria. But, there are times when the immune system attacks our own bodies, seeing our own tissues as foreign. hen this occurs, we have an autoimmune disease.

Persons of any age can have rheumatoid arthritis, although it commonly begins between the ages of 25 and 55. The average age of people with rheumatoid arthritis is 66.8 years. More women than men have the disease. The disease may be intermittent, and more severe cases can last throughout a person's life.

Rheumatoid arthritis costs the U.S. economy almost $128 billion each year. This includes the cost of medical care and indirect expenses such as lost wages and productivity. It affects 1.3 million Americans. People with the disease are about twice as likely to die as persons of the same age who do not have the disease.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

Most of the time, the disease starts slowly. Its symptoms at that time are similar to those of many other illnesses. These include:

  • Being tired
  • Losing one's appetite
  • A slight fever
  • Swollen glands
  • Weakness

At some point, however, after having these symptoms, a person begins to feel pain in the joints. Stiffness when waking up in the morning occurs often. When the patient doesn't use their joints, even for as short a time as an hour, the joints can feel warm, stiff and tender.

The pain in the joints often is experienced on both sides of the body and those joints affected can include:

  • Hips
  • Neck
  • Jaw
  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Toes
  • Fingers
  • Wrists
  • Elbows

As time passes, the affected joints lose their range of motion and can become misshapen. Joints will frequently seem warm and spongy when they are touched.

After a year or two, the disease can destroy the joints.

Further symptoms can include soreness in the chest when taking a breath; eyes that burn, itch or have a discharge; solid bumps under the skin (nodules); feelings of numbness, tingling, or burning in the hands or feet.

Forms of treatment include:

  • Medication
  • Exercise
  • Physical therapy
  • Potentially, surgery

People who are treated early and aggressively can postpone destruction of their joints.

When a patient's treatment includes hip replacement surgery, his/her hip will be replaced. DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson makes hip implants for people that need artificial hip systems. Two of these products have been recalled due to premature breaks. The recall was issued in August 2010 and includes the ASR™ XL Acetabular System and the ASR™ Hip Resurfacing System.

The recalled hips have the potential to harm the thousands of patients that received them. If you have been implanted with a defective hip, contact our hip implant recall attorneys for legal assistance. We can help you recover compensation for your injury.

DePuy Hip Replacement Recall Information

DePuyHipImplantRecall.org intends to provide patients with up-to-date information about the recent DePuy hip implant recalls. For more information, please select from the following:

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