What is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes inflammation of the joint lining (i.e. the synovium), resulting in pain, stiffness, redness, swelling, and warmth of the affected joint. The joint may also lose its shape and be restricted in its movement. RA commonly affects the small joints in the hands, feet and wrists, as well as the joints in the elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. Morning stiffness of joints can be a prominent symptom of RA. Although an acute onset of symptoms can occur, symptoms often occur insidiously and appear over a period of time.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an ongoing disease, with active periods of pain and inflammation, known as flares, alternating with periods of remission, when pain and inflammation recede. While RA can affect many different joints, in some people, it can even affect parts of the body other than the joints, including the eyes, blood, the lungs, and the heart.