by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects many joints in the body. Symptoms vary from mild to severe. They may also start quickly or slowly. There may be times when symptoms are worse. These are called flare-ups. There may also be times when there are no symptoms.

Key signs of RA are:

  • Pain and stiffness that is worse in the morning and after inactivity
  • Red, swollen, tender, warm joints
  • Joints that do not look as they should

RA may also cause problems in other parts of the body, such as the skin, eyes, lungs, and heart.

Inflamed Joint
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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: January 27, 2020.

Rheumatoid arthritis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Updated December 2018. Accessed January 27, 2020.

Rheumatoid arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: Updated September 2019. Accessed January 27, 2020.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Updated May 22, 2019. Accessed January 27, 2020.

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