JOHN BAVOSI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN BAVOSI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration of the skeleton of the hand affected by rheumatoid arthritis; inflamed joints are illustrated in pink. Rheumatoid arthritis is one type of arthritis, a general term used to describe inflammation of the joints. It typically affects joints symmetrically: the fingers, wrists, feet, ankles, hips and shoulders may be affected. Changes in the joints progress from soft tissue swelling through loss of joint space due to erosion of cartilage culminating in bone erosion & deformity. Rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed by a blood test that reveals the presence of the rheumatoid factor and by X-rays that show typical changes in the joints.
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