Women are more likely than men to be affected by rheumatoid arthritis.

In this article:

What is rheumatoid arthritis?


Advice & Support




How Chemist Online can help

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic (long-term) condition which stops your joints from working properly. The deterioration in the joints develops gradually, due, it is thought, to a problem with the immune system with attacks your joints’ lining as you get older. This can lead to your joints becoming overwhelmingly inflamed and stiff, until they stop working altogether.


Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

joint stiffness (usually becoming noticeable at first in the small joints, such as the knuckles, fingers and toes)

painful and tender joints (as well as in the fingers and toes, this can occur in other joints, such as: the wrists, ankles, elbows, shoulders and knees)

swelling and inflammation of the joints

deformities (as a result of joint damage)


loss of appetite

a feeling of generally being unwell


Also, people with rheumatoid arthritis can often develop depressive illness as a result of struggling to cope with the pain of their condition, and also the incapacitation it brings. (Please see contact details for the Depression Alliance in the Advice & Support section at the foot of this article).

As the condition progresses, you will experience short episodes or flare-ups of symptoms from time to time during the day and/or night, with symptoms usually being at their most severe upon waking each morning.


The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis has not yet been established. However, it is thought that it may be caused by:

An autoimmune condition (this is where the body attacks its own tissues through sending antibodies to your joints. Again, it is not known why this happens)

Having a genetic predisposition to developing rheumatoid arthritis (i.e. the condition is in the family and has been passed down)


If you are suffering from the aforementioned symptoms and are struggling to manage your pain through taking over-the-counter painkillers or anti-inflammatories, then make an appointment to see your GP. After taking your medical history, he or she will ask you some questions about your symptoms, carry out a physical examination, and then recommend an appropriate course of treatment. You may also be referred to a specialist for blood cell tests, an X-ray or MRI scan.


Although there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, there are a range of treatments which can help to reduce symptoms. For example:

prescribed painkillers

prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

corticosteroids (which can also help reduce pain), and

surgery (but only where symptoms and progression of the disease is particularly severe)

There are also a range of complementary therapies which can help, such as: massage, chiropractic therapy, acupuncture and hydrotherapy.

Note: Nutritional supplements such as glucosamine sulphate and fish oil can also help.

How Chemist Online can help

Through this website we have a range of treatments available to buy that can help relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, such as: Anadin Paracetamol Tablets which provide fast, effective relief, and Nurofen Caplets which contain a powerful amount of ibuprofen to treat various different types of pain and bring you comforting relief when you need it most. We can also recommend Radian B Ibuprofen Gel – a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory topical gel for the relief of rheumatic pain.


Advice & Support
National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS)
Unit B4 Westacott Business Centre
Westacott Way
Littlewick Green
Helpline: 0800 298 7650
Website: www.rheumatoid.org.uk
E-mail: enquiries@rheumatoid.org.uk

Depression Alliance
212 Spitfire Studios
63–71 Collier Street
N1 9BE
Tel: 0845 123 23 20
Website: www.depressionalliance.org
E-mail: information@depressionalliance.org

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