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Oct 12
Katelyn Snider, U.S. Communications and Public Affairs
Disease Spotlight: Rheumatoid Arthritis

As part of World Arthritis Day, we’re shining a spotlight on rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Learn more about RA, which is just one of the many different types of arthritis that affect the people we’re honoring today. 

What is rheumatoid arthritis? RA is a progressive disease which causes chronic inflammation of the joints.  It generally affects the smaller joints in the body such as fingers, thumbs, wrists, feet and ankles. However, because of the systemic nature of the condition, it can also affect the whole body. RA is classified as an autoimmune disease – meaning the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, specifically the synovium, the tissue that surrounds joints.

How common is RA? It is estimated about 1.5 million people in the U.S. have RA, and women are three times more likely to be affected than men.2 Although RA can occur at any age, the disease most commonly begins between the ages of 40 and 60. Doctors are still trying to pinpoint the exact cause of RA; it is thought that genetic, environmental and hormonal factors all play a role. 

RA is not necessarily passed from generation to generation. Many scientists believe that there are environmental factors that can trigger the development of RA in susceptible individuals. These triggers, which lead to the immune system attacking the healthy synovium, are thought to be bacterial and/or viral. In addition, cigarette smoking also significantly increases the risk of developing RA.

So, how does UCB deliver what people living with RA value? At UCB, patients are at the heart of everything we do. What matters most is how we can add more value to support patients on their healthcare journeys. We’re not just treating a disease – we’re caring for individual people. Learn more about how we’re delivering value for those living with RA:

Beyond RA, at UCB, we’re dedicated to supporting people living with other types of arthritis too, including psoriatic, spondyloarthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Want to know more? Check out more information for patients.  


  1. https://www.ucb.com/disease-areas/rheumatoid-arthritis
  2. https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/rheumatoid-arthritis/what-is-rheumatoid-arthritis.php
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