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Maggie is a 28-year-old Caucasian woman who has newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis. She complains of painful, stiff hands and feet, feeling tired all the time, and reports an intermittent low-grade fever. She asks the nurse if she is going to be "crippled." How might the nurse explain the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis?
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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic, and inflammatory disorder. RA is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks its own tissue. RA begins with inflammation of the synovial membrane of the affected joints. Fluid accumulates, causing joint swelling. The nurse should explain that RA is a chronic crippling disease with joint stiffening (ankylosis) resulting in restriction of joint movement and extreme pain.
Biology!
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