Treating rheumatoid arthritis

Just opening a jar can be a harsh reminder of the limitations rheumatoid arthritis places on daily life. Early and aggressive treatment can often help.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic degenerative inflammatory disease of the joints. More than two million Americans have the condition; about 70% of them are women.

RA has long frustrated patients and doctors. It has widely varying effects, its course is unpredictable, its causes are unknown, and no cure is in sight. However, medical science has made striking progress in treating the condition. In some people, early and aggressive therapy can halt joint damage and reduce long-term disability.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »