Your immune system is supposed to protect your body, but if you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it mistakenly attacks healthy joints, tissues, and organs—including the eyes and lungs. As a result, the chronic autoimmune disorder causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints. It can also cause other symptoms including fatigue, appetite loss, and dry eyes.
RA affects 1.5 million Americans, and there is no cure. But it can be managed with medications and lifestyle modifications.
Women’s Health magazine featured four women – including Mamas Facing Forward founder Mariah Leach – who discuss being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, how they each cope, and what they’ve learned from living with RA.