Quick Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Facts

If you have been diagnosed with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you are not alone. Approximately 1.6 million Americans deal with the signs and symptoms of RA on a daily basis. Learn how RA progresses, the role of inflammation and joint damage, and the impact RA can have on you.


    The immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues, specifically the synovium. As a result, inflammation occurs, which can lead to pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. Most of the time, natural inflammatory processes help to clear out infections and help to heal wounds and other damage to the body. When the inflammation continues without having an infection or injury, it can become part of a disease process and, in some cases, can lead to joint damage.


    For some people, destruction to your joints can begin as early as 3 months after the onset of RA symptoms, with most people developing joint damage within 2 years. Joint damage can lead to disability, but with available treatment options, you may be able to help stop further joint damage.


    RA symptoms and joint damage are likely to worsen over time (even on good days when your RA pain feels mild) if left untreated or undertreated. That makes it important to work with your healthcare provider to continually assess your RA symptoms and discuss if your current treatment is doing enough.


    Studies have shown that the loss of function, such as having difficulty gripping or walking, can be attributed to the inflammation and ongoing joint damage associated with RA.


With the effectiveness of today’s therapies, some experts believe that the goal of an RA treatment should be to maintain a low level of disease activity by alleviating RA symptoms, reducing further damage to joints, and sustaining a person’s ability to complete daily tasks. See how XELJANZ performed in clinical trials to help meet these kinds of treatment goals.

Learn from me, I was slow to tell my doctor that my RA symptoms were worsening and now it’s hard to do simple tasks like opening jars.-Patient with Moderate to Severe RA

Understanding Joint Damage

When considering how RA impacts the body, it’s important to recognize that no two people with RA are exactly alike. Some people may find that their symptoms come and go, while others may experience stiff and achy joints on a daily basis. But even when your RA symptoms go unnoticed, inflammation from RA can still cause ongoing damage to your joints. In severe cases, permanent damage could lead to additional joint pain and disability.

These images of potential disease progression are for illustrative purposes only, and are not intended to be fully anatomically accurate.

Learn About An RA Treatment That Helps Stop Further Joint Damage.