Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic inflammation of joints. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) tends to begin slowly with minor symptoms that come and go, usually on both sides of the body, and progress over a period of weeks or months. Symptoms of this chronic disease vary from person to person and can change from day to day. Bouts of disease activity are called flare-ups, and inactive periods are called remission. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease. It causes joint problems, such as: Pain, Swelling, Stiffness, and Loss of function According to Mayo Clinic, joint damage from Rheumatoid arthritis is usually symmetrical. If a joint is affected on one side of the body, the same joint on the other side will probably be affected as well. This is one way that doctors distinguish Rheumatoid arthritis from other forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis.Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other organs, including the eyes, mouth, lungs, heart, skin and blood vessels. HOW COMMON IS RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS? Rheumatoid arthritis is most often diagnosed in people over the age of 40. However, it can also occur in younger adults and in children. It can present as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The largest group of RA sufferers is women over 55. SYMPTOMS OF RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS FATIGUE: You may feel unusually fatigued well before any other symptoms become obvious. Fatigue can precede the onset of other symptoms by weeks or months. It may come and go from week to week or day to day. Fatigue is sometimes accompanied by a general feeling of ill health or even depression. JOINT PIAN: Joint stiffness is often followed by joint tenderness or pain during movement or while at rest. This also affects both sides of the body equally. In early RA, the most common sites for pain are the fingers and wrists. You may also experience pain in your knees, feet, ankles, or shoulders. FEVER: When accompanied by other symptoms like joint pain and inflammation, a lowgrade fever may be an early warning sign that you have RA. However, a fever higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) is more likely to be a sign of some other form of illness or an infection. NUMBNESS AND TINGLING: Inflammation of tendons can create pressure on your nerves. This may cause numbness, tingling, or a burning feeling in your hands referred to as carpal tunnel syndrome.