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Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Images

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s own immune system attacks specifically the joints of the body, such as the wrist joints or finger joints for example. The condition can be any joint because RA affects the lubricating part of the joint called ‘synovium tissue’. It is this synovium tissue, in particular, that is targeted and the reasons for this are still medically unclear and there is no cure. However, what is known is that RA affects a large number of people and because the synovium tissue plays such a vital anatomical role facilitating smooth movement of the bones, then any damage to this lubricating tissue can cause severe and painful consequences and even complete loss of joint movement.


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Rheumatoid Arthritis Illustrations

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The symptoms of RA as the immune system proceeds to auto attack, is first that it causes the synovium tissue to thicken and become inflamed. This inflammation will show as swellings under the skin and these are warm to the touch. The synovial fluids that also surround the tendon sheaths and the fluid in the bursae surrounding the muscles and tendons are also prone to coming under attack. Loss of all lubrication, therefore, further reduces joint mobility and the whole area becomes painful and stiff. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Knee Joint

Eventual loss of the joint lining and persistent symptoms can lead to the bones themselves rubbing against each other with a complete breakdown of the lubrication and then the cartilage that protects the bones, to a point where the two bones fuse together.    

Rheumatoid Arthritis is also known to affect other parts of the body and in a few cases a person can develop a high temperature and tiredness and inflammation may develop in other areas of the body such as the lungs, eyes, blood vessels. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Knee

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the synovial part of the knee will thicken causing the knee joint to first become tender, warm, and swollen. As the condition progresses loss of cartilage occurs to such an extent that the femur and tibia bones physically rub together. Friction over a length of time due to the action of walking that has broken down the cartilage can result in the bone itself becoming worn, fractured and ultimately collapsing forming a single unit of bone. This is now called advanced osteoporosis and where the joint extension is now impossible.

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Finger Joints

The condition follows the same pattern as the knee but in the finger joints. This is because the fingers are also synovial joints. Once under attack by Knee joint Damage from Rheumatoid Arthritis its own immune system the synovium membrane thickens and soon results in a swollen capsule of the finger joint. This, in turn, is the cause of the external swelling seen under the skin. The reduced synovial fluid brings about swelling of the tendon sheath. This then leads to the characteristic inflammation and pain in the fingers and hands especially the knuckles and second joints. Continuation of the condition at its most severe leads to the joint breaking down and complete loss of movement as the bones eventually fuse together.



Medical Images of Rheumatoid Arthritis

At the MSIC we have created Rheumatoid Arthritis Images specifically in order to visually help explain the RA condition. There is a market for medical illustrations like these Images of Rheumatoid Arthritis because they are used as visual aids to accompany the written text. Primarily in order to help the general public understand what the disease looks like and the effects it has on the joints through a medically accurate visual. RA images will count as part of patient education and are used on patient websites and in textbooks.

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Please see our entire selection of 
Rheumatoid Arthritis Illustrations