Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease that affects the joints throughout your body. It often starts in the hands and feet

RA is an autoimmune disease, it happens when your immune system attacks your own cells. While we don’t know why it happens, it may be linked to your genes, hormones or something you have been exposed to.

Symptoms include stiffness, pain and swelling. You may notice your fingers and toes shifting into abnormal positions, which makes simple tasks and walking difficult and uncomfortable.

Why women are more susceptible to some diseases than men are

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Being diagnosed with RA poses new physical and emotional challenges. However, it’s important to remember that you can live a full life with RA and can still do many of the things you enjoy. You just have to take steps to manage your condition properly.

It’s important to seek medical help if you have symptoms and suspect RA. Follow all of your doctor’s advice and take the medication as prescribed.

It helps to stick to a fresh healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, drink more plain water and less other beverages, and make sure you take regular exercise – low-impact exercise is best, like walking, yoga, Pilates, swimming and water aerobics.

To learn more about rheumatoid arthritis, watch the featured videos.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.