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Health Tip: If You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis

Anti-inflammatory medicines can help

(HealthDay News) -- Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that primarily affects the joints.

Pain may start in any joint, but occurs most often in the fingers, hands and wrists, the Arthritis Foundation says. Other symptoms may include stiffness, flu-like aches, fever, and muscle pain.

In RA, pain often is symmetrical, meaning that if it hurts on the left hand, the same joint will hurt on the right one.

Drugs called NSAIDs are frequently prescribed to reduce joint inflammation. Other medicines may be prescribed specifically for pain.

The foundation recommends seeing a doctor as soon as symptoms flare, to miminize joint deterioriation and pain.

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