Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that may affect many tissues and organs, but most often attacks the flexible joints. About 0.6 percent of the adult population in the U.S. suffers from RA with women having susceptibility two to three times higher than men. Onset is typically during middle age and family history of the disease may play a part in susceptibility to it. If not adequately treated, it may cause loss of functioning and mobility and be painful and disabling.
The body has an inflammatory response of the capsule around the joints and the disease often leads to the destruction of cartilage and the fusion of joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis increases your risk of developing osteoporosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, heart problems and lung disease.