This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Management of inflammatory arthritis

Written by: | Published:

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease which affects the synovial joints mainly of the hands and feet, but can affect any synovial joint. The cause is multifactorial, and RA is more likely to affect women than men (approx 3:1).

It can affect any age group but is more common in middle age, after the age of 40.1 Patients living with rheumatoid arthritis experience painful, swollen joints associated with stiffness, especially first thing in the morning. RA may also be associated with systemic symptoms including fatigue, anaemia and weight loss.

Other systemic manifestations may affect the heart, lungs and skin. Patients may experience periods of remission and flare of their symptoms. Long-term disease can result in damage and deformity of the joints accompanied by reduction in function. RA impacts on all areas of a patient's life, including their mood, relationships, work and leisure activities.2

Diagnosis of RA
Patients may present with symptoms ranging from generalised joint pains to a more specific history of multiple painful swollen joints accompanied by joint stiffness. Morning stiffness may last for a few minutes to several hours in active disease.

Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.