Rheumatoid Arthritis

Don’t suffer with painful, aching joints any longer. At FoundationMED in Raleigh, North Carolina, we do more than just treat the symptoms—we dive deeper to understand and address the root cause of your rheumatoid arthritis. Call us today to schedule an appointment and start breaking down the barriers to recovery.

Inflammation And Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease characterized by the immune system mistakenly attacking joints and organs such as the heart, eyes, skin, lungs and blood vessels. Rheumatoid arthritis can begin to damage your joints and bones in as early as the first year you have the disease. This can lead to deformation, greatly decreasing a joint’s range of motion and rendering a person immobile.

Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation in the lining of the joints, leaving them swollen and painful. With RA, if a joint on one side of the body is inflamed, the corresponding joint on the other side of the body will likely be inflamed also. Symmetry of joint pain is a characteristic of RA that distinguishes it from other types of arthritis like osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and lupus.

Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than in men. While it usually affects people in their 40s, it can be diagnosed at any age. Rheumatoid Arthritis can be difficult to diagnose due the symptoms mimicking symptoms of other known illnesses and because the symptoms come and go with flare ups and remissions.


Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Tender, warm, swollen joints
  • Long-lasting morning stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Inflammation of joints in the hands, fingers, and feet
  • Rheumatoid nodules (firm bumps of tissue under the skin)

Rheumatoid arthritis should not be confused with osteoarthritis, which is a completely different disease caused by the wear and tear on bones and joints and influenced by factors such as age, obesity, and injury. Rheumatoid arthritis is a autoimmune condition that affects the entire body. Some of the other major differences include:


Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can include joint pain, stiffness, reduced range of motion, and swelling, but it can also cause fever, fatigue, and loss of energy. Osteoarthritis only involves joint pain, stiffness, and sometimes mild swelling.

Time of Occurrence

Rheumatoid Arthritis tends to be worse in the morning or after long periods with no activity, while osteoarthritis gets worse with exertion and throughout the day.

Location of Disease

Rheumatoid Arthritis often causes swelling in pairs of smaller joints such as the hands or ankles, and osteoarthritis causes inflammation in weight-bearing joints such as the hips, knees, back, neck, and small finger joints.

Age of Onset

Rheumatoid Arthritis usually occurs between the ages of 30 and 50, and it may even occur in adolescents. Osteoarthritis occurs in people that are middle-aged or older. In the US, only 1.3 million people have rheumatoid arthritis and over 21 million have osteoarthritis.