What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of function in the joints throughout the body but typically the small joints of the hand and feet.  Your autoimmune system is supposed to protect the body. In RA, it turns against the body, attacking tissues and even organs, including eyes and lungs. There is no definitive cause and no known cure, although researchers are focused on finding one. RA can strike at any age although it usually begins after age 40 and is more common in women than men. If left untreated, RA can cause joint damage and even permanent joint destruction. Early diagnosis is important. 

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