Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis in which the joints, usually in the hands and feet, develop inflammation, resulting in swelling, pain and, often, joint destruction.
The immune system damages the joints and connective tissues.
The joints (usually the small joints of the limbs) are painful and stiff for more than 60 minutes after getting up and after a period of inactivity.
Fever, weakness and damage to other organs may occur.
Diagnosis is made primarily on the basis of symptoms, but also on rheumatoid factor serologic tests and x-rays.
Treatment may include exercises, splinting, medications (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, and immunosuppressants), and sometimes surgery.
Worldwide, almost 1% of the population suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, regardless of ethnicity or country of origin, with an incidence 2 to 3 times higher in women than in men. Rheumatoid arthritis usually begins between the ages of 35 and 50, but it can occur at any age. A disease similar to rheumatoid arthritis can occur in children. The disease is then called juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Nevertheless, the prognosis for juvenile idiopathic arthritis is often somewhat different.
HAQ (Health Assessment Questionnaire) is a functional disability tool specific to rheumatoid arthritis. The assessment covers the past week and covers 8 areas studying physical activity.
The result ranges from 0 (no impact) to 3 (maximum impact). For technical reasons, the "Other" items have been split to allow another helper to be specified for each item.