Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the joints, mainly the hands and feet. In RA, a person’s immune system starts to attack its own tissue including the joints, and in severe cases, it attacks the internal organs too. The joint linings are affected causing swelling. The 4 stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis are mentioned below: –
Stage 1 – Early RA
In this stage, patients feel joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. The inflammation is inside the joint and the tissue in the joint swells up. There are no damages to the bones but the synovium or the joint lining is inflamed.
Stage 2 – Moderate RA
In the 2nd stage, the synovium inflammation starts causing damage to the joint cartilage. As cartilage is damaged patients start experiencing pain and loss of mobility.
Stage 3 – Severe RA
The damage in this 3rd stage of RA is extended to the bones. As the cushion between the bones is eroded they start rubbing together. This leads to more pain and swelling. In some people, muscle weakness and mobility loss are noticed more than in others.
Stage 4 – Last Stage of RA
In this stage, there’s no joint remaining at all and the joint is essentially fused. The joints no longer work and that means the muscle strength also weakens considerably. People almost become immobile in this stage.