EVAN OTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EVAN OTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
An illustration depicting rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune inflammatory disease which primarily affects joints, yet can spread to other areas of the body such as the heart or lungs. Abnormal interactions between white blood cells initiates an autoimmune response against healthy tissue, promoting the inflammation of synovial joints. As a result, excess synovial fluid containing white blood cells, cytokines and antibodies, begins collecting in the joint cavity. As the disease progresses, the synovial membrane surrounding the joint begins to thicken as cartilage and bone are gradually eroded. This can eventually lead to pain, limited movement or deformity of the joint, while also leading to fever or fatigue. Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in during.
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