• Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis in which joints, usually including those of the hands and feet, are inflamed, resulting in swelling, pain, and often destruction of joints.

    The immune system damages the joints and connective tissues.
    Joints (typically the small joints of the limbs) become painful and have stiffness that persists for more than 60 minutes on awakening and after inactivity.
    Fever, weakness, and damage to other organs may occur.
    Diagnosis is based mainly on symptoms but also on blood tests for rheumatoid factor and on x-rays.
    Treatment can include exercises and splinting, drugs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, and immunosuppressive drugs), and sometimes surgery.

    Worldwide, rheumatoid arthritis develops in about 1% of the population, regardless of race or country of origin, affecting women 2 to 3 times more often than men. Usually, rheumatoid arthritis first appears between 35 years and 50 years of age, but it may occur at any age. A disorder similar to rheumatoid arthritis can occur in children. The disease is then called juvenile idiopathic arthritis. However, the prognosis for juvenile idiopathic arthritis is often somewhat different.
    The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known. It is considered an autoimmune disease. Components of the immune system attack the soft tissue that lines the joints (synovial tissue) and can also attack connective tissue in many other parts of the body, such as the blood vessels and lungs. Eventually, the cartilage, bone, and ligaments of the joint erode (wear away), causing deformity, instability, and scarring within the joint. The joints deteriorate at a variable rate. Many factors, including genetic predisposition, may influence the pattern of the disease. Unknown environmental factors (such as viral infections and cigarette smoking) are thought to play a role.

    Rheumatoid arthritis (ra) meaning & definition 1 of Rheumatoid arthritis (ra).

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