Rheumatoid Arthritis


What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease where the immune system attacks healthy cells. This can lead to joint damage, inflammation, and pain. Symptoms can be mild to severe. When the disease is severe, your joints may change shape and you may have trouble moving. RA is a chronic disease, so it can have long-term effects. It may also impact other organs, such as the lungs and heart.

More than 1.3 million adults in the United States have RA.

Anyone can have RA. But some people have a higher risk of having it.

  • People between the ages of 30 and 50.
  • Women – about 3 out of 4 people with rheumatoid arthritis are women.
  • Certain Native American


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Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Signs and Symptoms of RA

  • Pain, stiffness, tenderness, or swelling in multiple joints, usually on both sides of the body
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty moving
  • Hard lumps in the elbow or hands, called rheumatoid nodules

Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes

If you have an immediate family member (parent, sibling) with RA, you are 2 to 3 times more likely to have RA. Lifestyle habits, such as smoking and obesity, can also increase your risk of having RA.

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