Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the joints. Although it shares some symptoms with osteoarthritis, the type of arthritis that usually occurs in older people due to wear and tear on joints, there are some key differences. Rheumatoid arthritis can attack at any age, can come on rapidly, and may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as fatigue.
Teresa Shaffer, 46, of Morgantown, W. Va., had a history of chronic pain going back to an osteoarthritis diagnosis in her 20s.
Kathy Lubbers battled rheumatoid arthritis for more than 20 years
Lisa Rushing, 38, was in pain for decades before being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.