Is RA really an autoimmune disease?

RA . Ra is an autoimmune disease . It is a systemic autoimmune disease as it affects joints and other systems . The target cells are cells in synovium (lining of joints) , pleura (lining or covering of lungs , pericardium ( lining or covering of heart) and sclera of eyes . The antibodies are to igg fc ( rheumatoid factor) and to citrullinated peptides ( anti ccp ) . Both t and b cells are involved.
Yes. Ra is an autoimmune disorder that is the result of genetic and enviromental factors which result in autoantibody production and a complex inflammatory response which results in joint inflammation and the secondary destructive changes. The immune response that occurs is quite complicated, well documented and not easily summarized.
Yes it is. It is a chronic disease where your immune system attacks normal, healthy tissues such as your joints. This caused joint destruction, which is the hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis.

Related Questions

Is RA an autoimmune disease?

Yes. Here is an excellent summary http://www.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov/pubmedhealth/pmh0001467/. Read more...

Can someone with normal lab results still have lupus or RA or othe autoimmune diseases?

Possibly. About 98-99 percent of people with Lupus have a positive ANA test so it be unlikely to have lupus with a negative ANA blood test. On the other hand, in rheumatoid arthritis, especially in the early phases, a much larger minority of people may have a normal Rheumatoid factor test (but many of those people may have a positive CCP ab test that is seen in RA). Bottom line: possible but unlikely. Read more...

How do you deal with the extreme fatigue that goes along with autoimmune diseases like lupus and ra?

Fight it! Autoimmune diseases can be debilitating; my advice would be to fight it with all you have. Swimming, yoga, walking can be beneficial. A good diet can also be beneficial as proper nutrition is extremely important to maintain one's health. Read more...
Control. Physical exercise sounds counterintuitive but can actually help with the fatigue and make the day more manageable. Also, certain drugs such as Hydroxychloroquine may help the fatigue as well as control the lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Read more...

Does family history in first cousin (or other NON-first-degree relatives) increase risk for autoimmune diseases such as lupus, scleroderma, RA?

Yes. If you have autoimmune disease in your family - you are at increase risk to also develop Autoimmune diseases also seem to have a genetic component, but, mysteriously, they can cluster in families as different illnesses. For example, a mother may have lupus erythematosus; her daughter, diabetes; her grandmother, rheumatoid arthritis. Research is shedding light on genetic, as well as hormonal and environmental risk factors that contribute to the causes of these diseases. Read more...

If an autoimmune disease is in remission at the time of ANA testing could the test be negative but possibly still have the disease. Eg RA or sle?

Yes. Autoantibody tests can sometimes become negative when the disease is in remission. However, the high likelihood is that the underlying disease is still present. Read more...
Yes. The anti-nuclear antibody (ANA) titer fluctuates over time, and it's also a test fraught with pitfalls within the lab, with results hard to reproduce even from day to day. I'm very glad you asked; this is a thoughtful and important question that touches on how tricky it is to manage these diseases. The key is treat the person, not the lab value. Read more...