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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disorder of the joints. It causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function. It is most common in the hands, wrists, and feet. Other parts of the body may also be affected.
RA is caused by a problem with the immune system. It begins to attack healthy tissue in the joints. It is not clear why this happens. It is most likely due to a person's genes and environment.
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Aletaha D, Smolen JS. Diagnosis and Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Review. JAMA. 2018 Oct 2;320(13);1360-1372.
Rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/rheumatoid-arthritis. January 27, 2020.
Rheumatoid arthritis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/musculoskeletal-and-connective-tissue-disorders/joint-disorders/rheumatoid-arthritis-ra. Updated December 2018. Accessed January 27, 2020.
Rheumatoid arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Rheumatic_Disease/default.asp. Updated September 2019. Accessed January 27, 2020.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/rheumatoid-arthritis-ra. Updated May 22, 2019. Accessed January 27, 2020.
Last reviewed November 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM Last Updated: 2/16/2021