In the spring of 2006, Dora Burke finished her first triathlon with competitive results. When her ankle started hurting soon afterward, she chalked it up to the tough race. But in little over a month, this normally healthy, active mom in her 30s could barely move. Without warning, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) had rapidly and fiercely attacked nearly every joint in her body.
"The pain went from one body part, to four body parts," Burke says. "Then pretty immediately it went to the point where I couldn't...
If your doctor thinks you have this condition, she may take a biopsy (a small tissue sample) of an affected area to see if the blood vessels in the area are inflamed. For instance, your biopsy might come from an area of your skin that has a suspicious rash.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend doing a kidney or lung biopsy.
If you have this disease, you will need to take drugs that target your immune system. The goal is to limit or prevent damage to healthy tissues.