Updated: Jun 28, 2020
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis in old age. It is an autoimmune, chronic, inflammatory, systemic disease primarily of unknown cause affecting the synovial lining of joints as well as other connective
tissue. It is characterized by a fluctuating course, with periods of active disease and remission. The onset and progression
vary from mild joint symptoms with aching and stiffness to abrupt swelling, stiffness, and progressive deformity.
It most commonly affects the wrists/hands, shoulders, ankles and the smaller joints of the hand or feet and the inflammatory changes also occur in tendon sheaths (tenosynovitis); if subjected to recurring friction, the tendons may fray or rupture.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, it occurs when your immune system attacks the synovium — the lining of the membranes that surround your joints which then makes your joint inflamed.