Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, systemic autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the joints, causing inflammation (arthritis), and some organs, such as the lungs and skin. It can be a disabling and painful condition, which can lead to substantial loss of functioning mobility due to pain and joint destruction.
The disease often affects the wrist joints and the finger joints closest to the hand. It can also affect other parts of the body besides the joints. In addition, people with the disease may have fatigue, occasional fever, and a general sense of not feeling well (malaise).
Rhematoid arthritis is different than osteoarthritis.
Source: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletaland Skin Diseases Information ClearinghouseNational Institutes of Health (NIAMS/NIH) www.niams.nih.gov