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Hi, I have a question that is not about me. A friend of mine from work has been complaining about the pain in his joint. One day he went to see a doctor. He was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. My friend told me that this is a serious condition and that he has to follow the therapy the doctor has prescribed him. He also said that it is an autoimmune disease. What kind of illness rheumatoid arthritis is, and what causes it?

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Hi, I am dealing with the same problem like your friend. It is good that your friend is listening to his doctor because it is very important to do exactly what he says. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. It causes chronic inflammation of the joints but can also affect the tissue around the joints and, in the hardest cases, other organs as well. Luckily I am so far having problems only with my joints and I believe that the drugs will prevent the inflammation from spreading onto other organs. Since this is an autoimmune disease, it means that our immune system is causing it. Immune system is our fighting mechanism against bacteria and other threats in our body (mostly the ones causing inflammations and infections). But sometimes our immune system can get confused and like in the case of your friend and mine problems may occur. Our immune systems started to fight against our own cells, recognizing them as foreign objects. That is what caused rheumatoid arthritis. Unfortunately it is not yet determined why our immune system starts to attack our joints. There are some believes that bacteria, virus or fungi may be responsible for it. Until scientists solve this puzzle your friend and I have no other options, but to follow our doctors' orders and hope for the best.
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