Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the joints and surrounding tissues. RA affects the lining of the joints, causing pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving. Over time, the inflammation can cause damage to the joint, leading to deformity and loss of function. RA can also affect other parts of the body, such as the lungs, heart, and eyes.

The exact cause of RA is not known, but it is thought to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. RA affects more women than men and typically begins between the ages of 40 and 60, but it can occur at any age.

Treatment for RA typically includes:

  • Medications: such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologics
  • Physical therapy: to help maintain range of motion and muscle strength
  • Occupational therapy: to help with activities of daily living
  • Surgery: in severe cases when joint damage is severe.

Early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent joint damage and preserve function, but it’s important to note that there is no cure for RA and treatment is aimed at controlling symptoms and preventing complications.