Rheumatoid Arthritis is a long-term disease that leads to inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues. It can also affect other organs.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis is unknown. It is an autoimmune disease, which means the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.
Rheumatoid Arthritis can occur at any age, but is more common in middle age. Women get Rheumatoid Arthritis more often than men. Infection, genes, and hormone changes may be linked to the disease.
Rheumatoid Arthritis usually affects joints on both sides of the body equally. Wrists, fingers, knees, feet, and ankles are the most commonly affected areas. The disease often begins slowly, usually with only minor joint pain, stiffness, and fatigue.
Joint symptoms may include:
- Morning stiffness, which lasts more than 1 hour, is common. Joints may feel warm, tender, and stiff when not used for an hour.
- Joint pain is often felt on the same joint on both sides of the body.
- Over time, joints may lose their range of motion and may become deformed.
Other symptoms include:
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