Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)


In RA, the most common chronic inflammatory joint disease, autoantibodies attack the joints and cause joint destruction. 

Common Symptoms

Pain, stiffness, and swelling of the joints, weight loss, fever, fatigue, and weakness. 

Coexisting Diseases and Conditions

Hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, hypothyroidism, malignancies, systemic lupus erythematosus, psoriatic arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, alopecia areata, antiphospholipid syndrome, autoimmune hepatitis, autoimmune inner ear disease, ankylosing spondylitis, and osteoporosis.

Risk Factors and Prevalence

RA is highest among older adults and it is 3 times more likely to occur in females than males. There is a greater prevalence of RA in certain Native American populations. Obesity and smoking cigarettes are additional risk factors. Researchers have identified an association with genes known as HLA (human leukocyte antigen) with the disease.


  1. Article Sources
    1. Chang, K., Yang, S. M., Kim, S. H., Han, K. H., Park, S. J., & Shin, J. I. (2014). Smoking and Rheumatoid Arthritis. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 15(12), 22279–22295. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms151222279.

    2. Gerosa, M., De Angelis, V., Riboldi, P., & Meroni, P. L. (2008). Rheumatoid arthritis: A female challenge. Women’s Health (London, England), 4(2), 195–201. https://doi.org/10.2217/17455057.4.2.195.

    3. Peschken, C. A., & Esdaile, J. M. (1999). Rheumatic diseases in North America’s indigenous peoples. Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism, 28(6), 368–391. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0049-0172(99)80003-1.

    4. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) | Arthritis | CDC. (2020, July 27). https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/rheumatoid-arthritis.html.

    5. Rheumatoid arthritis—Symptoms and causes. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved July 12, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353648.

    6. van Drongelen, V., & Holoshitz, J. (2017). HLA-Disease Associations in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America, 43(3), 363–376. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rdc.2017.04.003.

    7. Yang, D.-H., Huang, J.-Y., Chiou, J.-Y., & Wei, J. C.-C. (2018). Analysis of Socioeconomic Status in the Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(6), 1194. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061194.