What are the main features of rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?

Updated: Aug 22, 2019
  • Author: Howard R Smith, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic systemic inflammatory disease of unknown cause. The hallmark feature of this condition is persistent symmetric polyarthritis (synovitis) that affects the hands and feet, though any joint lined by a synovial membrane may be involved. Extra-articular involvement of organs such as the skin, heart, lungs, and eyes can be significant. (See Presentation.)


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