Sunday, July 6, 2008

National Rheumatoid Arthritis Day 2008.

Today is the national rheumatoid arthritis day. You might ask, what is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? RA is a chromic autoimmune arthritis that can lead to joint deformity and destruction if untreated.

There are two types of arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). There are differences between this two arthritis.

OA is a lot more common than RA. OA affects up to 20% of the population. OA is basically a failure of repair of cartilages as one ages, thus this disease affects the older population more. The disease progress is slow, about 10 to 20 years.

Compared to OA, RA is less common. It affects one in every two hundred in Malaysia. RA tends to affect the younger population compared to OA, that affects the older population. This disease tend to start between 30 to 55 years old.

RA produces abnormal antibodies that are harmful to joints and sometimes other parts of the body. They attack the synovium. They cause it to become hypertrophied, overproducing synovial fluid, causing swelling and inflammation in the joint.

If RA is left untreated, joint deformities can occur, with resultant difficulties in the activities of daily living. In this day and age, I think the medical services provided should be able to prevent such deformities from happening if treated early.

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