Find out more about rheumatoid arthritis

Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:45:08 PM EST
Updated On: Dec 04 2013 02:55:33 PM EST

Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic News Network

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that typically affects the small joints in your hands and feet. Unlike the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.

An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body's tissues. In addition to causing joint problems, rheumatoid arthritis sometimes can affect other organs of the body -- such as the skin, eyes, lungs and blood vessels.

Although rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age, it usually begins after age 40. The disorder is much more common in women than in men. Treatment focuses on controlling symptoms and preventing joint damage.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/rheumatoid-arthritis/DS00020

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