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  • Rheumatoid arthritis is an immune disease that affects the body's joints. While it can cause pain and inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis can be treated to lessen or alleviate these symptoms.

    What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

    Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, usually in your hands and feet. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system attacks your own tissue.

    Symptoms

    Rheumatoid arthritis generally affects small joints first, then progresses to larger joints like the shoulder, elbow, knee and hip. The main symptoms include pain, swelling, inflammation and tenderness. Symptoms may vary in severity, and flare up from time to time.

    Causes

    Doctors believe that genetics may be a factor in the emergence of rheumatoid arthritis.

    Risk Factors

    Some factors may increase the likelihood of rheumatoid arthritis. Women between the age of 40 and 60 are most likely to develop the disease. Additionally, smoking and family history can play a factor.

    Treatment

    There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, although treatment can help. Medication, occupational therapy and, if necessary, surgery can relieve pain and prevent further joint damage.

    Source:

    Rheumatoid arthritis

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