Rheumatoid Arthritis


What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease, affects more than 1.5 million Americans

With RA, the body is attacking its own tissues, beginning in the thin tissue membrane that lines joints.* Because the body’s immune system is “fighting” itself, fluid builds in the joints, creating swelling, inflammation and significant pain throughout the body.

To date, RA is not a curable and produces chronic symptoms. Those affected can feel fine for several days, weeks or even months, and then experience “flares.” While some inflicted with the disease consistently have symptoms and pain, others will experience “remission” for months and even years.

The frequency of RA symptoms vary radically from person to person (though it greatly affects women more than men). And, while arthritis research points to a combination of environmental and genetic factors that create a probability of RA symptom onset, there are many people in the same environment with the same genetic markers that are not at all affected. This makes it all the more difficult for researchers to hone in on specific and consistent causes behind RA. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Signs and Symptoms of RA

  • Pain and/or aching in more than one joint
  • Stiffness in more than one joint
  • Tenderness and swelling in more than one joint
  • Mirrored symptoms on both sides of the body (i.e. both hands, both knees, both feet)
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Weakness

Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes

The exact cause of RA is unknown. What is known is it is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune systems attacks his or her own body tissues. Risk factors that may contribute, either individually or collectively, include genetics, environment and hormones. 


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