Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can not affect your joints. It is also possible to damage the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels.

An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your own body’s tissues mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues.

Unlike the skin of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the joining of your joints, causing it to be painful.

The inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis can damage other parts of the body as well. Severe rheumatoid arthritis can still cause physical disabilities.


Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include:

  • Tender, warm, swollen joints
  • Joint stiffness that is usually worse in the mornings and after inactivity
  • Fatigue, fever and weight loss
  • If you are a man, you must be able to change your body.

As the disease progresses, the symptoms often spread to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders. In most cases, symptoms occur in the same joints on both sides of your body.

About 40 percent of the people who are rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis can affect many nonjoint structures, including:

  • Skin
  • Eyes
  • Lungs
  • Heart
  • Kidneys
  • Salivary glands
  • Nerve tissue
  • Bone marrow
  • Blood vessels

Rheumatoid arthritis signs and symptoms may come and go. There are periods of increased disease activity, alternating with periods of relative remission. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis can cause joints to deform and shift out of place.

When to see a doctor

If you have a persistent discomfort and care in your joints.Causes

Illustration comparing rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis vs. osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your surroundings joints.

The resulting inflammation thickens the synovium, which can eventually destroy the cartilage.

The tendons and ligaments are weaken and stretch. Gradually, the joint loses its shape and alignment.

Although the genetic component appears likely. While your genes don’t really cause problems, it’s not a problem.

Risk factors

Factors that may include your risk include:

  • Your sex. Women are more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Age. Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age, but it most commonly begins between 40 and 60.
  • Family history. If you have a rheumatoid arthritis, you may have increased risk of the disease.
  • Smoking. Cigarette for arthritis, especially if you have a rheumatoid arthritis. Smoking also appears to be associated with greater disease severity.
  • Environmental exposures. Although it is uncertain and poorly understood, some exposures such as those for developing rheumatoid arthritis. Emergency workers exposed to the World Trade Center for risk of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Obesity. People who are more likely to have been or are not diagnosed with the disease.


Rheumatoid arthritis increases your risk of developing:

Osteoporosis. Rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk of osteoporosis, along with some medications used for treating rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid nodules. These bumps of tissue are most commonly form around pressure points, such as the elbows. However, it can be seen anywhere in the body, including the lungs.

Dry eyes and mouth. People who have rheumatoid arthritis are much more likely to experience

Infections. The disease system itself, leading to increased infections.

Abnormal body composition. The proportion of fat compared to the body mass is often higher in people who have rheumatoid arthritis, even in people

al tunnel syndrome. If rheumatoid arthritis affects your wrists,

Heart problems. Rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk.

Lung disease. People with rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk of inflammation.

Lymphoma. Rheumatoid arthritis is a group of blood cancers that develop in the lymph system.