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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic systemic inflammatory disease of undetermined etiology involving primarily the synovial membranes and articular structures of multiple joints.


In the U.S.: Occurrence rate is approximately 1% in the U.S. The range is from 0.5% to over 5% with some ethnic variation.

  • Internationally: Similar to the U.S.


Mortality from RA is primarily related to the patient's overall deterioration in health, well being and functionality. RA patients become susceptible to infection and secondary organ dysfunction, including lung disease, kidney disease and GI hemorrhage.


Female to male ratio is approximately 3:1.


Age of onset is usually between 25-50 years. The disease can occur at any age but tends to peak in the fourth and fifth decades of life. The pediatric form of RA is Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA), which is characterized by onset prior to 16 years of age and includes 3 categories of disease: polyarticular (multiple joints), pauciarticular (less than four joints) and systemic (i.e., high fever, rash and organ involvement).