Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic (long-term) condition that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. It is a systemic rheumatic disease, which means that the disease can affect the entire body.

It is one of the most common types of inflammatory arthritis and is estimated to affect 1% of the population.

Autoimmune Disease

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease, meaning that it occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy cells and tissues. The reason why it does this is not well understood. When the body’s immune system is “activated” in this way, it can make a person feel very tired, similar to when they have the flu.

Importance of Early Treatment

It is very important that Rheumatoid Arthritis is treated as early and aggressively as possible to put out the “fire” in patients’ joints. This prevents further joint damage that can ultimately have crippling effects, and can reduce the risk of other problems associated with chronic inflammation, such as heart disease.

With proper treatment, many patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis can enjoy active and productive lives, and prevent long-term damage to their joints.

Who Gets Rheumatoid Arthritis

People usually notice the first signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis between the ages of 25 and 50. The disease is about three times more common in women than men.

Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Quick Reference Guide