False-colour X-ray image of the human hands showing deformation in the joints of the fingers due to rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is one type of arthritis, a general term used to describe inflammation of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis typically affects joints symmetrically: joints of the fingers, wrists, feet, ankles, hips and shoulders are also affected. The degree of severity varies considerably. Rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed by a blood test that reveals the presence of the rheumatoid factor and by X-rays that show typical erosion of the joints. Symptoms are usually treated with anti-inflammatory drugs.
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