Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition where the immune system creates antibodies that attack joint tissue. Normally, antibodies are supposed to attack viruses, infections, and other invasive substances. The mistaken system-attacking antibodies make this condition an autoimmune disease, a class of illnesses caused by immune system malfunctions. Typical treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include immune-suppressing medications. Like with patients whose immune systems are weakened due to illness, this can cause the infection to progress and cause more damage. It's also difficult to get a septic arthritis diagnosis when an individual has rheumatoid arthritis, because many of the symptoms are very similar. Some rheumatoid arthritis patients don't realize their condition is something other than the usual pain, swelling, and inflammation until it's too late. For this reason, it's important for patients with rheumatoid arthritis to be aware of the risks of septic arthritis. They should be informed of the potential causes and warning signs so they can seek prompt medical treatment.