Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory arthritis involving
0.5% to 1% of the US population.1 This disease
affects women twice as often as men and its incidence rises with increasing
age. In general, RA causes a symmetric polyarthritis affecting large and small
joints in association with systemic manifestations, such as morning stiffness,
fatigue, and weight loss. Although considered a joint disease, RA can have
widespread effects on the entire body and can impair life expectancy by as
much as 5 to 10 years. With progressive disease, patients with RA develop
work disability, functional impairment, and radiographic evidence of joint
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