Rheumatoid Arthritis is the most common type of autoimmune ( auto means self and immune is related to the immune system ) arthritis. It affects around 1 % of the world population. It is characterized by pain and swelling in multiple joints of the hands and feet. It is commonly referred to as sandhivaat or aamvaat or gathiyavaat in different regions of India.
Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by symmetrical involvement of joints. Which means the same joints on both sides of the body are involved. For example pain and swelling in both wrist or ankles or knees. Untreated arthritis leads to permanent joint damage and deformities which cannot be reversed. It is now known that joint damage and cartilage degeneration starts as early as three months from the onset of symptoms. Early treatment can prevent joint damage and deformities and hence prevent permanent disabilities and joint replacement surgeries in the future. Hence it is very important to start treatment as early as possible.