in Younger Women
Last winter, after spending a few afternoons shovelling snow, Heather Miceli, 27, woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get out of bed. “My joints had swelled up so much that I couldn’t move without crying,” she says. Two months later, the college professor at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, R.I., who had always been healthy, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) -- a debilitating autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and swelling in the joints and surrounding tissues, most commonly in the wrist, fingers, knees, feet, and ankles. Other organs such as the lungs, skin, and eyes can also be affected.