Learn about 4 Stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis and How it affects your Body

By Dr Mukesh Sharda In Joint Pain

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a joint pain disorder that can severely affect your body. Mainly it is an autoimmune disorder in which the body begins to attack itself. The immune system of the body protects us from various diseases and infections by building antibodies. But in the case of RA, the body keeps making antibodies. These antibodies then begin to attack the healthy cells of the body.

Our joints can be an easy target of these antibodies and it can result in severe pain. The bones of our body are connected with a soft cartilage and synovial lining. This thin lining helps in easy and flexible movement of your joints. During Rheumatoid Arthritis these antibodies start depositing in the joint cavities. They slowly keep accumulating and begin to damage the synovial lining and cartilage. The damage results in joint stiffness, redness, swelling, and even joint deformation.

The main reasons responsible for rheumatoid arthritis are weak digestion and metabolism. In Ayurveda, it is known as an imbalance of Agni in the body. This results in the building of toxins in the body. These toxins are known as “Ama” in Ayurveda and rheumatoid arthritis is known as “Amavata”. So the name Amavata literally means accumulation of Ama (toxins) in the body.

The reasons for ama formation are:

  • Eating excessively sour, pungent, saline, hot, or uncooked food that is difficult for the body to digest. This leaves undigested food particles which form toxins in the body.  
  • Excessive intake of oily foods or spicy foods is also very harsh on the body. They even cause acidity or a burning sensation in the body. 
  • Incompatible food combinations like milk with fruits or vegetables or curd with bitter foods do not properly digest in the body. 
  • Sugars like sweets, packed juices, and chocolates are also not good for your body. Sugar increases your blood glucose levels and it becomes really difficult for the body to break it down. 
  • Dairy products and processed food items result in the formation of toxins over time. We must limit their consumption. 
  • Suppressing your emotions, anger, frustration, and stress can harm your body and also produce toxins. 
  • Poor eating habits like overeating, eating without a huger, eating too frequently, or having heavy meals at night are also the major reasons for the formulation of toxins in the body. 
  • Poor lifestyles like being lazy, lack of physical activity, and no sleep, or eating schedule can also result in the formation of toxins in the body. 

Ama is a sticky substance that sticks to the surfaces of cells and veins which causes blockages in the body. Due to these blockages, the tissues do not get proper nourishment resulting in weakness and fatigue. If these toxins or Ama are not attended to in time, they keep on accumulating. Hence, it can result in rheumatoid arthritis.  

However, Rheumatoid Arthritis is not caused overnight. It develops in your body slowly. As the situation keeps growing worse, it becomes even more difficult to treat. It is best to pay attention to your joints in the initial stages and take proper medication. Various studies have suggested that Ayurvedic treatment is the best way to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis. It focuses on the root cause of the problem. 

In the early stages, it is easier to cleanse the body and remove toxins from the body. But, if we ignore the joint pain as ordinary and leave it untreated. It can result in further build-up of toxins and it will also increase the number of antibodies in your body. An increase in antibodies also means that your immune system is not functioning properly. It will result in a decreased ability to fight off diseases. 

Four stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Read the full blog, to know in detail about these stages of RA. The severity of the symptoms slowly progresses with every stage


Stage 1 of RA:

In the initial stages, people may experience a Mild Pain and Stiffness. The pain may be noticeable in the morning and after some movement, it can go away.  The synovial lining becomes inflamed. There is a little swelling inside the joint.

However, the swelling may not be clearly visible on the skin's surface. Hands and feet are the main affected joints. Only one or two joints can be affected at this stage. The bones are not affected. It can be difficult for a person to identify if he or she is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis at this stage. 

Stage 2 of RA:

Stage 2 is known as the moderate stage. If the disease progresses to the second stage, the number of antibodies in the blood rises and joints may begin to show Clear Swelling and Redness. The symptoms become clear and apparent at this stage and it is easy to identify rheumatoid arthritis. The Synovium is Inflamed, and joint cartilage and Bones begin to get Damaged at this stage. Cartilage is the tissue that protects or covers the endpoints of the bones. Cartilage damage can cause pain and it can become difficult for the patient to move. The joints can show stiffness and it can become difficult to move them. Especially after some rest, you can find it difficult to move your joints again. The other organs of the body also begin to be affected. Your lungs, heart, and eyes can show signs of illness. 

Stage 3 of RA

This is the stage where the disease becomes very serious. The Joint Cartilage has been damaged and the bone also starts to get affected. Since cartilage is the soft cushion between the joints, its absence means the joints will start rubbing together. The Bones begin to get Deformed and the shape of the joint or bone can change. For example, the fingers can be twisted or knuckles can be thickened. The joint tendons can also be compressed or ruptured. The ruptured tendons may not heal but it can be prevented if attention is paid on time. These deformed joints can also affect your veins or press your veins so it can result in nerve pain as well. 

There can be extreme pain and swelling. The muscles are also weakened by this stage. The patient can find it extremely difficult to move the affected joints. 

Stage 4 of RA

This is the last stage of rheumatoid arthritis patients. By this time, the swelling is gone. The patient can experience a little pain but the movement is completely gone. The bones will fuse together and at this stage, it will no longer be possible to move the affected joint. 

But, you don't have to wait for your bones to join together before consulting a doctor. Rheumatoid Arthritis can be controlled in the initial stages. The best way to deal with this disorder is Ayurvedic treatment. 

Ayurveda believes that it is the result of an imbalance of doshas in the body. There are three main doshas in the body namely Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. During rheumatoid arthritis, vata dosha imbalance causes pain in the body, and pitta dosha imbalance results in a burning sensation and reddish discoloration. Kapha dosha imbalance, on the other hand, results in stiffness and heaviness in the body. 

Ayurvedic treatment involves various diet and lifestyle changes. It focuses on removing the Ama or toxins from the body. Taking good care of your gut health can help you manage rheumatoid arthritis in its initial stages. It will prevent undigested food particles and toxins from spreading in your body.  There are various changes in your diet and lifestyle that can help you in managing Rheumatoid Arthritis. 


  • Instead of eating wheat flour and rice, you should consume more whole grains like jaw, bajra, ragi, kodra, poha (flattened rice), suji, brown rice, and black rice. 
  • Use vegetable oils for cooking like mustard oil, coconut oil, sesame oil or flaxseed oil. They are low in trans fats and are healthy for your body. 
  • Limit the use of spices and use rock salt, pink salt, or black salt instead of regular salt. 
  • Eat a lot of vegetables and fruits. It will help you provide essential nutrients to your body. But, avoid starchy vegetables like lady fingers. 
  • Limit the use of legumes and eat only horse gram. You can also sprout them as it increases their nutrition. Do not eat chana, chickpea, or rajma. 
  • Add soaked or nuts and seeds to your diet, it will increase the strength and immunity of your body. A better immunity will help you heal faster. 
  • Avoid dairy products and instead take coconut milk or almond milk. 
  • Drink fresh fruit and vegetable juices, it helps flush the toxins and also fulfills the nutrient demand of the body. 
  • Also, you can have herbal pastes (chutneys)like coriander chutney or mint chutney and pickles like amla, garlic, or ginger pickle.
  • You can add herbs like ginger, cinnamon, garlic, thyme, cumin seeds, amla, or fennel seeds to your diet. You can also make herbal teas.  You can also add some honey for taste. They will help in detoxifying your body.
For more detailed information on Diet you can read our Blog: Best Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients


  • Add yoga and gentle stretching to your routine. It will help in the healthy flow of blood and the removal of toxins.
  • Make a good sleep routine and have ample amounts of rest and sleep.
  • Also, eat your meals in the daytime and avoid having food after sunset. Eat a light dinner and do not eat anything 3 hours before sleep.
  • Stay calm and relaxed. Practice meditation and breathing exercises to calm your mind and thoughts. Emotions and thoughts have a great impact on your health, so staying positive and exuberant will reflect on your health.
  • Also, take a sunbath for at least 30 minutes daily. It will give you Vitamin D and also strengthen your bones and muscles.
  • Prefer taking a bath with lukewarm water. 
You can adopt A stepwise Guide: Yoga Asanas for Rheumatoid Arthritis

These Ayurvedic remedies are very useful in detoxifying the body and managing Rheumatoid Arthritis. Ayurveda focuses on the treatment of the root cause of the disease. Rheumatoid Arthritis can be managed well in the starting stages. It can be treated and the disease can go into remission. You can consult the experts of Dr. Sharda Ayurveda as they are well renowned for Rheumatoid arthritis treatment.

Article By:

Dr Mukesh Sharda

Dr. Mukesh Sharda (BAMS, Ph.D.) founder Dr. Sharda Ayurveda is a worldwide renowned Ayurvedic doctor withholding more than 15+years of experience in treating autoimmune disease patients. The root cause treatment and its effectiveness make this clinic stand out from others. Dr. Mukesh Sharda is serving mankind through its various widespread branches in India and globally through telephonic and video consultations.