Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)


  • Autoimmune disorder affecting joints

Risk Factors

  • Women > Men
  • Age 30-55


  • Subacute (>6w)
  • Fatigue
  • Persistent/progressive joint pain
  • Worse in AM due to gelling→ improves w/use
  • Tendency for bilateral involvement, commonly small and medium sized joints
  • Nerve symptoms can be motor. sensory or from compression
  • SOB/DOE related to interstitial lung disease, nodules, pleural dz, pulmonary htn, or pericardial dz

Physical Exam Findings

  • Joint effusion
  • Joint warmth, redness
  • Spongy feeling from synovial inflammation
  • Pain w/squeezing of joints (hands)
  • Joint deformity if longstanding, in particular MCPs
  • Extra articular findings: episcleritis, pleural/pericardial inflammation, rheumatoid nodules
  • Peripheral neuropathy related: decreased distal sensation, weakness, diminished reflexes