Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that most commonly affects the hand, foot, elbow, knee and ankle joints. In patients with RA, their immune system attacks the joints resulting in painful inflammation and swelling. Left untreated, RA can cause irreversible joint damage; therefore, doctors recommend early diagnosis and treatment.
Women are three times more likely to have RA than men, commonly beginning between the ages of 30 and 60. The majority of people with RA have no family history.