Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammation of the joints. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis may destroy the
joint tissues, including cartilage, ligaments, tendons and bone, and, in rare
but severe cases, may cause organ damage.
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:
Painful, swollen, stiff joints. The same joints
on both sides of the body (symmetrical) are usually affected, especially the
hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and feet.
Joint stiffness may develop after long periods of sleeping or sitting and may
last at least 60 minutes and often up to several hours.
of bumps (nodules), usually over pressure points on the body, such as the elbows,
knuckles, spine, and lower leg bones.
Fatigue, a general feeling of
illness (malaise), mild fever, a loss of appetite, and weight loss.
Medicine may help control rheumatoid arthritis or prevent the
disease from getting worse, which can reduce the risk of permanent disability.
Surgery may be needed for severely deformed joints.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.