What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease that causes inflammation of the synovium, the lining of the joints. The inflammation can be so severe that the function and appearance of the hands and other parts of the body can be affected. Left untreated, rheumatoid arthritis may damage joints so badly that they no longer function.

Rheumatoid arthritis treatment

There is no cure for RA. The goal of treatment is often to limit the common rheumatoid arthritis symptoms of pain and inflammation to help improve function. In some cases, surgery may be an option if other treatments do not work.

Treatment plans for patients to help relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis will be determined by their care team based on age, medical history, type and stage of the disease, and personal preferences. Rheumatoid arthritis treatment options may include:

  • Medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Clinical trials (when appropriate)

  • Surgery