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Healthcare: Rheumatology Services

Rheumatoid Arthritis

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joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis

About Rheumatoid Arthritis


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a condition in which the body's own immune system attacks the joints. This causes swollen, stiff, and painful (inflamed) joints, especially in the hands and feet. Over time, RA can damage and deform joints. It makes it hard to open jars, write, and do other daily tasks. Sometimes it can also cause bumps to form under the skin.

Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than in men. It often starts between the ages of 40 and 60. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis can damage and deform joints. Early treatment with medicines may reduce your chances of having a lasting disability.


Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?


Symptoms of RA often develop slowly over weeks or months. Fatigue and stiffness are usually early symptoms.
Joint symptoms include:

  • Pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints of the hands, wrists, elbows, feet, ankles, knees, or neck. The disease usually affects both sides of the body at the same time.
  • Morning stiffness. Joint stiffness may develop after long periods of sleeping or sitting. It usually lasts at least 1 hour and often up to several hours.
  • Bumps (nodules). Rheumatoid nodules ranging in size from a pea to a mothball form in nearly one-third of people who have RA. Nodules usually form over pressure points in the body such as the elbows, knuckles, spine, and lower leg bones.

Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause symptoms throughout the body (systemic). These include:

  • Fatigue.
  • A loss of appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Mild fever.

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